An enjoyable (as always) trip to Denman College teaching “Essentials of Hand Quilting“. Wonderful weather (maybe the last of the summer?) and great students made the whole thing as easy as it could be. This class is always an interesting one to teach at Denman because there is the luxury of more than one day to cover the essentials plus some background. I promised to post pictures of some of the work under way so here are just a few – and on the final morning – I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of your completed class projects ladies!! Now that everything is put away from this trip I can perhaps make myself concentrate on working behind the scenes on my website and that stack of “for sale” quilts and samples. Here’s a few close-ups from the sample section (mostly 12 – 16inch blocks) –
All of the “worked on black” samples have proved difficult to capture accurately – still working on this problem! The black background really sets off the coloured perle threads but the depth and vibrancy is very elusive. Onwards!!
August 23, 2013
It must be the summer silly season – I’m trying to get “for sale” quilts and samples photographed and measured (almost at the bottom of the stack now) and, at the same time, fending off the urge to clear shelves, wardrobes, empty out drawers and launder curtains, cushions and rugs. Amidst all this I managed to lose my phone, which proved more traumatic (and expensive) than I could have imagined. So now I ‘m planning a couple of days featuring none of the above, just finishing up an Oakshott strippy sample begun two years ago (or was it three?) The fabrics are from their first Jet range, and the intention was to illustrate strippy style using simple cable variations from a single template. Interesting to try and photograph and do justice to the richness of colour, as you can see from the following -
I had fun using my favourite Penultimate app to work out where I was going to start adding extra lines of quilting
- I hope to work on these lines today while the washing machine chugs away in the background and I await delivery of the new phone. I’ve also used the same app to make some on-the-spot, rough diagrams of one of the quilts in The Cupboard -
And a little eye candy from Festival of Quilts – terrific choice of thread and great stitching – well done Kath!
August 16, 2013
Just while I’m finishing up measuring and labelling quilts and samples I thought I would put together some thoughts on a completely different topic – Antique Rose Star. I know several readers are about to start their own project and thought this might be helpful.
This stunning hexagonal block is one I first saw in a copy of Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts magazine in the middle 80s (1980s that is). Rather more recently it has been given a new global lease of life thanks to its inclusion in “Material Obsession 2”, a hugely popular book from the Australian quilt shop of the same name. At Quilt Expo in Veldhoven I noticed that renowned Dutch quilter Petra Prins carried the template as part of her wonderful shop stock, so it was easy to acquire the wherewithal to begin.
As featured in the book, the block requires 5 fabrics plus a background. I used 5 fabrics plus two backgrounds because I wanted a very busy, scrappy look, and chose shirting style reproduction fabrics for the backgrounds. I also decided that I wanted to work within one style of fabrics – reproduction prints, and mostly one colour family – reds, browns and dark creams.
After that, decisions progressed to each block being a different combination of fabrics with no two blocks being identical. Fussycutting worked well for some of the centres and also some of the points, but was not a must. For the most part, I just wanted to make scrappy looking blocks from fabrics I already had. Health warning – there is a LOT of scope within this block for fussycutting if that is your delight………… and the whole thing is hugely addictive, it is very difficult to stop!
Here’s how I tackled my Antique Rose Star project –
Each block has 72 pieces and divides down into 6s or 12s of each fabric choice. The centres and points are 6 each, everything else is 12, and remember I used 2 backgrounds so there were 12 each of both backgrounds. If you use one background per block you will need 24 pieces from that fabric.
I cut lots of pieces in sets of 6 and 12, marking around the template onto the WS of the fabric and cutting out on the marked lines. This took time but was fitted into small gaps in the day rather than lengthy sessions. Because I wanted to use up fabric and be economical, I marked around the template as tessellating shapes and cut with scissors which meant very little waste.
The size of the template does lend itself to use with jellyroll precut fabric and rotary cutting, in which case you could be cutting through 3 or 4 fabric layers at once – it depends on your preferences and what suits.
All cut shapes went into one large ziplock bag – I probably began the first few blocks with shapes cut from at least a dozen fabrics and five background fabrics. More of everything plus new fabric choices were added in as the project gathered momentum.
Every shape in the large ziplock bag then had a seam line marked on the WS on two adjacent sides (one long side, one short).
You could easily skip this step if you prefer to mark your seam lines as required rather than in advance. I must say I felt it was time well spent at this stage.
So, lots of shapes cut out and marked – time to start laying out blocks. I laid out 3 blocks to begin with, sometimes using a pair of mirrors and just one triangular wedge of shapes to predict the final result.
This was a project I knew I would be stitching “on the move” so it was important that it could be accommodated in the smallest of containers and that the stitching was as straightforward as possible. I decided to gather each block up into its component sets of 3 shapes, put a few holding/tacking stitches through each set to keep them together, and then put all the 3s for each block into its own very small ziplock bag.
One block = one very small bag of tacked shapes. Add in a needle, small reel of thread, small chunk of beeswax and a thread cutter and its good to go.
You may be surprised at the speed at which a block can go together – each seam is short. I made up my 3s like this:-
First stitch one short seam then a pivoting seam to add in the third shape.
Completed sets of 3 went back into the bag, and you can probably finish the sequence for yourself………… sets of 3 come back out of the bag to be stitched into diamonds of 6. These leave the bag to be made into larger triangular wedges by adding first one background 3 and then the next. And of course, sets of 6 large triangular wedges have their own bag in which they await their final construction all neatly tacked together……….
After all that hectic piecing just a warning that one or two almost-forgotten quilts have been re-discovered during the ongoing Cupboard project – here’s a quick peek, more detail next time.
August 13, 2013
… and not many pictures of quilts! On setup day the car park was full of non-quilters -
And after that slow start, everything went really quickly for the four days of the show – lots of meetings, catching up, lots of visitors and very little time to scoot around and take pictures. The Quilting in Action section was in the customary good spot – within sight of coffee stops and the loos, both vital facilities if you are working solo! Opposite me was Janice Gunner
One of the quilts I did make a point of finding was Andrea Stracke’s “Citrine” – stunning work as always, and much admired. With the often dubious lighting in the show hall, it was easier to take close up sections rather than the full quilt -
That Antique Rose Star project has had an impact too. I always knew I was not the only one, and certainly not the first, to find it almost perfect for carry-around stitching. This lovely example arrived
as evidence (!) that it has served that purpose for quite a few others too.
The sales part of the show went quite well and I’m hoping to show one or two items here in the next post. The Cupboard has been completely emptied and a whole stack of quilts and samples piled up before returning fewer quilts and samples back to safety. Now I need to measure everything, take pictures, write descriptions etc. I may even find a few Tentmaker pieces to add to the “sell” stack….
Here’s the stack awaiting attention
August 1, 2013
The annual jamboree of Festival of Quilts is almost upon us! As in previous years I’ll be in the Quilting in Action area of the show and looking forward to four days of general quilt excitement. It’s always hard to know what to take and what to show so this year I’ve decided to focus on the (almost) new Little Treasures pattern books -
and I’m going to display some of my stitched pattern samples from previous years and hope to sell them -
If I can get sufficiently organised I’ll take a couple of vintage quilts to sell too. It’s time to clear some space in The Cupboard and also on the sample shelf! After Festival, I’ll probably list some quilts for sale here so, if vintage is your thing, be sure to check back. One of the quilts on the “to go” list is this one, which you may remember from earlier posts this year -
and this is another -
One or two of these also -
Off to finish up the current sample before it’s time to pack and return to middle England. Happy quilting!
July 27, 2013
Small progress on a number of fronts, and lots of ideas gained from sitting, reading blogs and daydreaming. First, the progress – all the main design lines are now quilted on this sample -
Now I need to decide on the centre texture, which will probably be a 1/2inch grid. As you can see from this detail the double lines are differently spaced on the inside and outside of the design -
One of the reasons for this difference was dictated by the design itself. Initially I had planned on a generous 1/4 inch spacing for both lines, and went ahead and marked reference spots, joined them up and got started. After just one quarter was done, the outer line was just too far away and was distracting, so out it came to be replaced by something a little closer.
Similar concerns over spacing, but this time between stitches, not stitched lines, with this little sample from one of my new Egyptian stencils.
Just running stitch through one layer of cloth, a long needle and Tudor Twist hand-dyed rayon thread and finished in a couple of hours – almost instant gratification! You may be able to see that I decided to omit some lines from the full design – just because I could!
Two more Antique Rose star blocks are complete, a third block only needs 5 seams to finish it. No pictures this time because you’re probably more than familiar by now with what the block looks like, but instead here’s what I can see every time I look up from my stitching -
A lot of food for thought and inspiration on all sorts of things this week from selected blogreading. Still haven’t got totally to grips with the WordPress app for the magic gadget, so no text links here but you’ll find them on the sidebar over on the right – Tim Latimer, Feathered Fibers, I Sew Quilts, The Quilt Rat, Feather on a Wire. You’ll find inspiration for gardens, quilts, studio setups, quilting, design and much more from all of them, do hop over and take a look if you’re not already famiiar with them.
And one or two interesting lines spotted while strolling around -
Back to stitching and daydreaming!
July 20, 2013
- but from Spain. While middle England basks in very untypical continuing heat, I’ve found a shady terrace with comfy chairs, a handy large table and a splendid view
Near the table are various things that might come in useful -
On the table are a selection of familiar items -