Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Dear Jane

I have been working hard on my Dear Jane blocks, as I have agreed to give them to DS's friend as a housewarming present on 6th December, so no time pressures there!  I had already bigged them up by putting them on point and putting plain blue squares between them, which looked pretty good.  But not big enough for a vaguely credible bed quilt.  Next was a flying geese border.  It adds another 8" all round, so what's not to like? 

I have to admit that I had help from Jane and Liz here, so thank you both!  Still not big enough, but I need a plain border, if I'm to get it layered and quilted in time.  

What better than this fabulous Barbara Brackman fabric for the final border? A perfect solution!  A bit of careful cutting and it'll be a top!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


I was looking at the latest copy of 'Quiltmaker' - one of my all time favourite magazines - when my eye strayed to the Basic Lessons page.  I'm not foolish enough to think there would be nothing there forme to learn, when I came to the bit about Backing and Basting.  

In case you can't read it, it says 'Make the quilt backing 4-8" larger than the top.'  This is pretty standard information for layering up.  But really - four to eight inches!  That's a lot of excess!  The received wisdom is that the fabric will pull up when it's quilted.  Well, yes, that's true, but surely the back and the top will pull up roughly the same amount? 

I'm not really suggesting you cut the backing the same size as the top (as I have foolishly done here!)

Just leave an inch or so, to prevent having to add to the backing if you've not centred the top quite right.  Any thoughts?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Better than I expected

I have finished my Piecemakers Challenge blocks, and instead of making four mini quilts, have made one Linus quilt!  Despite my earlier reservations about having chosen pastels for the fabrics, now it's a top, I think it's turned out better than I expected!  In fact, it's OK.

It's another murky day here, so it doesn't show up too well, but once it's quilted it will look fine.  However, that's my foray into pastels over for a while, and the next quilt on my list is one made from string blocks which Bettymade and gave to me. 

That's a bit more like it!  And what shall I use as a border?

Yes, that's perfect!

Monday, 27 October 2014


This year my local quilting group Piecemakers have challenged their members to make four little 12.5" quilts on the themes of lines, squares, triangles and circles.  While I'm always up fora challenge (and group activity) I wasn't sure about the mini quilt idea.  Personally, I don't want to make things which are purely decorative. (Yes, I know it's all about the journey, but I want a journey and a destinnation!). So I decided to make two of each block, then add another block and make it up as a Linus quilt.  And asan extra challenge for myself, to stick to pastel colours.

So, here is the central section in progress.  I found a ballerina fabric for the extra block.

Here is the lines block - string piecing.

Here are the squares - Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trip.

Triangles -self evident.

And circles - will be in the centres of the flowers! 
Got to get it finished by the middle of November.  Piece of cake! 

Monday, 20 October 2014


We're having a chill break for a little warmth and downtime, in sunny Tenerife.  We've never been here before, but are very impressed.  We normally look for somewhere which has excursion possibilities (historical sites being a favourite) and had always dismissed The Canaries as being just a resort.  Well, our view hasn't changed but our current needs have.  After a rather stressful period, we were in need of a rest and a bit of looking after, which we have certainly found!  That's not today I haven't been sewing (can a leopard change its spots?!) but something undemanding.

And that something is hexagons!   I've also discovered a great way of cutting the fabric.  Usually you end up with fabric which looks like large mice have been chewing at it - all lacey!  This method is much quicker.  I just cut 2.5" strips and then subcutaneous them into squares.  The papers it's beautifully on there.  I suppose you could snip the corners off if you were a perfectionist, but I didn't bother.

And here is the progress so far.  Looks a bit strange, but the red lozenge will be the central motif, surrounded by other lozenges and rosettes.  So far so good!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Day out

Today Paula and I went over to 'Hannah's Room' in Coalville.  It only took us about 20 minutes and was easy to find on the main street.  The shop is owned by Roxana, who is enthusiastic and inspirational.  there is a good range of fabrics, and the prices are very reasonable - a bonus in these days of recession!  We always like to support local quilt shops, but our main reason for today's visit was that Roxana had organised a Project Linus sewing day! 
Paula and I were particularly keen to layer up a few tops ready for quilting, and Roxana was so concerned to see us tacking the layers together that she gave us a can of 505 spray and gave us a lesson on how to glue baste quilts.  Despite my past reservations, I have to admit, I'm converted!  We layered 5 quilts in the morning (and had plenty of chatting and biscuit-eating time) which was an excellent result! 

Add to that Roxana's offer to quilt 4 of the quilts and it was a result!
At home, I've been quilting something of my own.  This fat quarter quilt is now ready to bind.  I  quilted it in the ditch and then did some free motion circle and squiggle motifs in the centre of each block. 

Here's a close up.

The circle fits nicely in the centre square and the squiggles in the first frame.

It's a good way of holding the layers together!  Now to cut some binding.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Big Textile Show

As Project Linus UK rep, I was thrilled to be invited back to The Big Textile Show to have a stand.  This year it was at a new venue, Leicester Grammar School which was much bigger and more spacious (as well as being very swish!  That's private education for you!). 
Maria and I went on Saturday, and had enough space for a display and a demonstration table.  Julie and Emily were able to help too.  Many thanks for that.  It looks pretty quiet here, but 100 people took Linus leaflets (50 people did last year) so we were actually very busy, which was lovely.

Here you can see how spacious it was.  We were right near the entrance, so there were occasional lulls when people were having lunch etc. and didn't pass by.

Here's a view in the hall where most of the traders were.  The man on the right had lots of gorgeous leathers.  The smell was fabulous! 

Second hand craft books and lots of activity round a stall selling fabric stamps.

A lot was going on upstairs, including Rosie with her Morsbag team.  And this is what I bought.

The stand next to us was for the charity Azafady which teaches women in Madagascar to embroider, and then sells their work.  This enables them to have a skill and income of their own, to better their families.  I fell in love with this embroidery, and intend to frame it - after all, it's a work of art.