Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Big Textile Show

I've had a lovely (but hectic) day today at The Big Textile Show at Great Glen in Leicester.  This is the third year of this show, and I think it gets better and better!  We have been very lucky to be invited again to have a stall for Project Linus, and I hope I have shared the love by giving away free patterns for a no-strip nine patch, and doing a demo too!  It's one of those 'why didn't I think of that!' ideas, but a great time saver if you don't know it. 

Here is our stall, with the lovely Maria ready to inform and advise.  We had a great response to my demos, spread the word about hugs you can keep, and met lots of old friends.  

The show is very inclusive, and here is Tegan who is selling embroideries made by women in Madagascar.  They are fabulous, and with over 60% of the money going direct to the women, is a way of making a difference in the world.  She said that many of the women can now afford to send their children to school and have improved their housing.  Great news.  (I feel smug, because I bought a beautiful embroidery last year. A very precious possession.) 

Here is a view in the first corridor.  You can see the end of our table, and then Helen with her embroidered pashminas, again hand made and exquisite. 

Here are some of the traders.  This was a real mixture of goodies for quilters, knitters, embroiderers, mixed media people, lace makers, spinners, readers etc.  Something for everyone, and eye candy and stimulation for all. 

Here is a Guiness World Record attempt at yarn bombing a mini!  I knitted a couple of squares - I've never been part of a GWR attempt before!  This was early on, and they got a good half done by the end of the day. 

There were lots of different exhibitions, and here is a taster.  This piece is by Linda Rudkin, and was fabulous!  If this has whetted your appetite, then get along to the The Big Textile Show tomorrow to see the rest of the exhibits! 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Feeling clever (ish)

My patchwork group have recently bought a second hand Accuquilt Go! Cutter for group use.  We are hiring it out by the month, and I happened to be the first hirer!  I have looked at the different fabric cutters in the past, but not been persuaded to buy one, as I think that, for me, they would not get enough use to justify their initial outlay.  Interestingly, I have know several people who bought one, and then sold it on, as they didn't get as much use out of it as they'd expected to.  However, to hire one for a month is a different proposition altogether! 
The problem was that while the cutter itself has a handy carrying handle, the dies were all in a carrier bag.  

Here they are.  There is a really handy 2.5" strip cutter die, but it's 24" long!  Very unwieldy.  Liz suggested it might be an idea to get a trolley or suitcase to put everything in, which I thought was a good idea.  Then I decided a bag would be easier to cope with than a suitcase, although none of the supermarket type bags are long enough for the strip cutter die.  There was nothing for it but to make a bag.

Not the most attractive of bags, but since it's made of curtaining fabric and lined with the same, I'm hoping it will be durable.  The wrap around handles should give a bit of extra strength too. But then I thought we needed a list of the contents, so it could be checked off on return.  A laminated sheet inside?  A laminated sheet tied to the handles?  A luggage label tied to the handles? And then I decided.  

I cut a piece of the handle fabric, zigzagged it on the side and wrote the contents with a permanent pen!  I've left some room for future purchases to be added too.  Basic, but functional! 
And what have I been doing with the cutter? 

I used the Value die, which has 4.5" and 2.5" squares, plus 2.5" half square triangles to make this star. I quite like the triangles which have seam allowance on the side, but still glad the machine's hired, not bought.  

Monday, 31 August 2015

Grandmas, eggs and sucking

This post will be, to many, like teaching your grandma to suck eggs!  I know lots of people already know this, but it was new to me, so might be new to others.  
Have you ever admired quilting which is a wavy line, which was 'one of the fancy stitches on my machine, and done with the walking foot'?  Something like this?

I've looked and looked on my machine, and I don't have any stitches like that.
But then, I experimented. 

I found the three stitch zigzag on my machine, then shortened the width and lengthened the stitch, and hey presto!  the searched for effect.  
Here is the quilt, which was made by several hands at a Linus sewing session.  

Once it's bound, it'll be even more gorgeous! 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

My Dresden Circles quilt is still on the design wall, and while I've been quilting something for Linus, I've been looking at it. 

The circles have all gone, and it's now a yellow quilt. That's not what I want.  It's the old trick of putting a border on a multicoloured quilt to find the quilt has 'become' that colour.   The yellow border has to come off.  Maybe a blue border instead or perhaps piano keys.  Only one thing is certain, the yellow has to go! 

A little bit good, and a little bit bad

I've been busy trying to finish the two quilts I have promised for Piecemakers' exhibition in October.  (I know it's quite a way off, but sometimes life bowls you a curve ball, and I don't want to be caught out!)
I am sewing the binding onto my Grand Illusion.  

Still not my favourite Bonnie design, but I think the quilting in the ditch has emphasised the stars and made it easier to read. 

Borders are on my Dresden Circles.  Decisions now to be made about quilting designs.  I've already discussed this with the very knowledgeable Liz, and have a few ideas.  Again I want to quilting to bring out the design, not just hold the layers together.  I want to bring the circles out, and if possible the double circles. 
So, quite good.  But then I saw this. 

A free quilt pattern!  Looks awesome!  There are 34 pages of the pattern, (although they don't use much ink, just lots of paper - good for using the back of other things).  Will I ever make it?  Don't hold your breath!  But then, it is gorgeous! 

Friday, 21 August 2015

The usual story

As usual, I've been distracted.  Instead of making more 'fifteen' words, I've been doing other things.  One is reasonable.  The local Linus ladies made lots of nine-patches from squares, all in pink.  I'm going to show this technique at The Big Textile Show in September, and thought I'd join the blocks together as a kind of Blue Peter.  Since September isn't far off, I decided I'd better get on with it.  

I had to add a few extra blocks, but with a narrow bright border, then a wider paler border, that'll do.  But then I was browsing in a bookshop, and saw these clever basket blocks. 

The basket parts are cut from two squares, and then the handles are appliqués onto a narrow rectangle and sewn at the top!  The fairies brought a set of matching red, black and grey fabrics, so I thought I'd use some of those and make a sophisticated Linus quilt for a teenager.  Just need to appliqué more handles! 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Czech is a doddle

Next is Czech.  This was a doddle, as I drew the letters out on graph paper, bonded them on, and used another machine blanket stitch.  

Maybe the stitch is a bit big, but it adds a spikey quality to the letters, which seems appropriate for (what I assume to be) a spikey language! 

And here is the progress so far.  I've included the part-finished Dutch reverse appliqué, just to see how the colours gel.  So far, so good.