Tuesday 31 May 2016

Umbrella Prints Trimmings Contest: Six Coffees and a Tea

I've just checked to make sure that it is still 31 May somewhere in Australia, and so at the last minute I'm posting my entry to the challenge!

I ordered a lovely pack of trimmings from Umbrella Prints with a view to entering the contest.

(Picture credit: Umbrella Prints)

I had been thinking of how to showcase the pieces, and when they arrived I immediately thought of my collection of vintage coffee pots, which are decorated with patterned panels.

Here is my entry:

The pots are set against a background of recycled duvet cover, and the quilt is bound with some gingham I found in a charity shop - this seemed suitable for a vintage-inspired quilt that was all about using up what you have!

 My favourite coffee pot:

Edited to add: I pieced the pots just by cutting, sewing and trimming them as I went along, so they are more or less improvised though I used freezer paper to make templates for a few of the fiddlier sections.  I am irritatingly spacially challenged when it comes to matching angled seams.

The steam is freemotion quilted with Aurifil wool.

Thank you umbrella prints for all the fun!

Friday 13 May 2016


Now that I know that my partner has got the parcel I sent her, I can tell you about #bigstitchswap2. For this swap you have to make something the size of a mini quilt, cushion cover, pouch or bag and include an element of hand stitching.  There is some amazing creativity from people taking part and beautiful makes which you can check out on Instagram.  

My partner posted this image, rather than a mosaic, as her inspiration pic:

and included Alison Glass in her favourite fabric designers.

This was my first big swap and it's quite scary making something of this scale for someone else, but I stalked her Pinterest account a bit and decided to make her a mini quilt with a back so it could be used as a cushion if she wanted, and to include a rainbow collection of colours, taking into account the fact that she didn't like red as a focal colour.

I used a selection of Alison Glass fabrics to make cathedral windows on a background of Oakshott cotton, sashed with black Essex linen, and the corner pieces are Robert Kaufman solids.

I quilted round the centre panel with black perle cotton and the corner pieces are quilted with matching colours, and I tried to funk it up a bit with a rainbow collection of buttons sewn on using a fancy stitch.  By the time I was done I really wanted to keep it.

I made an envelope back out of very bright fuschia pink and yellow and sent it off with a couple of little extras including the thread she posted so she can make her own project, wrapped round a hedgehog!  

Unfortunately I made the stupid mistake of mis-spelling her name with an H which occurred to me just before I handed the parcel over at the post office so I had to write an apologetic note on the outside of the parcel and hoped she would forgive me!

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Show and Tell

Despite the current traditional Scottish weather of four seasons in one day my paid gardening work is picking up again after the winter so I have fallen a bit behind on blogging.  It's a bit easier to keep up with Instagram (where I am @knottedcotton) so apologies if you have seen the following already.

April was quite a productive month as I rashly signed up for two swaps as well as needing to complete my Four-in-Art quilt.  First up was the #veryberryhoopswap on instagram. It was a small swap in more ways than one - small group, and we had to make a mini hoop, maximum size 5cm.  I haven't received my own yet but here's the one I made for my partner.

She liked lots of things, including blues and greens and the sea, which I tried to capture with this rustic embroidery.  I've got used to doing little pictures for Artist Trading Cards, but the tininess of this was a challenge to me and a sign that I should be wearing my specs more often instead of holding things at arms length like an old lady.  You can see how small it is from the pic of it nestling in my sea glass collection.  I made a little loop to hang the hoop from and my partner kindly said she liked it.

I also took part in the second Big Stitch Swap - my parcel is on its way to my partner, and hopefully one is winging its way here, so more about that soon!

Then a very loved friend was doing exams so I made her a good luck card.   It's about six inches on the longest side - the little birds came from an Aviary selvedge, I think, and are really tiny.

Finally, my geek husband's birthday laptop cover which of course I had to wait till Star Wars day (May the fourth be with you) to show you.   We are big Star Wars fans in this house.  It's lined with both batting and fleece so his beloved technology should be well-padded and cosy.   I managed to get the pattern to line up, I was quite pleased!

Sunday 1 May 2016

Four in Art: Colour & Music - Rhapsody in Blue

Welcome to the latest reveal for Four-in-Art.  We are a group of quiltmakers who take turns to choose an annual theme as inspiration for a quarterly quilt.  Our theme for this year's quilts is 'Colour', and we have added a quarterly sub-theme - this time it's 'Music'.

These were great themes to think about.  They make an interesting combination because there is one particular form of synaesthesia where music and colour are linked and particular keys or sounds are experienced in colour.  While I was thinking about this my daughter's piano teacher mentioned in passing that she associates keys with colours - for example C major is red and gold.  The colour/music relationship in synaesthesia would make a lovely theme for a quilt and I'm keeping that in the back of my mind!

However my first Four-in-Art quilt for the 'Colour' theme explored the possibilities of monochrome black and white and for the second quilt I was interested in then moving on to one colour and focussing on that. I thought I would choose a piece of music and try to express the mood of it in a quilt.  The obvious choice was Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin which is one of my favourite pieces.   The choice of colour was already in the title, and so I just had to think about the images it evokes.

Gershwin described it as "a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness".   It's been used as soundtrack music in the films Manhattan and The Great Gatsby but even before I saw them it sounds to me as if it opens on a big city at night - it sounds decadent and seductive and busy.    In the first performance of Rhapsody in Blue Gershwin improvised some of his playing and so I decided to make an improvised quilt with the idea of a night-time cityscape in mind.

Here is Rhapsody in Blue.

I know there is a pictorial quilt in me but at the moment I'm quite interested in making quilts which could be abstract or have a meaning.  In this quilt the flying geese could represent roofs, the gold squares lit windows and the circle could be a moon. The odd shape is a motif from an art deco building contemporary with the music and I liked it because it could also represent a trumpet which plays one of the themes.

I used shot cottons in various colours but where the warp thread is always blue and supplemented it with all that was left of some treasured gold metallic silk for city sparkle.   The quilt is partly pieced with added fused applique.   

 I quilted in the ditch, and around the central panel.  I thought I should stop there but am tempted to go back in again and do some more quilting round the shapes - there is always the fear of making things worse though!

We have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, but please do visit the other Four-in-Arters here!
Betty         https://www.flickr.com/photos/toot2
Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com
Nancy        http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.co.uk/
Simone       http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com (not taking part this month)
Susan         http://patchworknplay.blogspot.com


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