Friday, 28 February 2014

Experimenting with Free Motion Landscape


A free motion landscape is something I have wanted to try for ages.  It was one of the items on my list of projects to do this year for the 2014 NewFO Challemge.  

Today I have finally made a start.  This is supposed to be the outline of a hedgerow.  At first it looked far too much like seaweed.  After I had put in another line of stitching it didn't look too bad, then I realised I had done it upside down - I meant to have the pale creamy yellow at the top, not the bottom.  

So far, so bad.  

Anyway, practice is practice, and if it only ends up as a test piece to see how the different coloured threads work with each other then it will have served some purpose.

Linking up today with Barbara's blog Cat Patches for February's NewFO
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Using the Seam Guide when Binding a Quilt


Over the past few weeks, having done two little quilts in quick succession, I have hit on a method for sewing on the binding, using the seam guide to keep it all straight and neat.  The mitred corners have been particularly trouble-free.  On the front the stitching sits close to the edge of the binding, and on the back...



... it is clear of the binding, running parallel to it.




First, I stabilise the cut edge of the quilt with two lines of machine stitching.  This makes the edge firm, so it lines up easily against the seam guide when attaching the binding, and if the quilting is widely spaced, it prevents the top layer from rumpling or pleating.  It also keeps the corners nice and sharp, which makes mitring the corners easier



The seam guide keeps these first two lines of stitching straight.  It has to be placed as far over to the left as possible, so it is right up against the side of the foot.



This places the needle approximately an eighth of an inch from the edge.  Once the first line of stitching has gone all the way round the quilt, I remove the seam guide and put a second line of stitching between the first line and the edge of the quilt.



Next, I attach the binding.  The binding is one and five eighths of an inch wide, with one side ironed over by about a quarter of an inch.  The unironed edge is laid along the edge of the quilt on the back, and the seam guide set to approximately three eighths of an inch.



When the binding is folded over to the front, I place the needle through the work close to the edge of the binding, and then line up the seam guide with the edge of the work.  Only then do I start stitching.  The seam guide prevents the stitching veering off the edge of the binding. 



Using the seam guide has helped me do my neatest binding and best corners ever.  I don't know why it has never occurred to me to try this before.

Linking up today with Connie's blog Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday
and Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday

Sunday, 23 February 2014

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - A View of Cliftonwood


One of the rare appearances of the sun this winter.

This stunning photo was taken earlier this month by my favourite guest photographer, my son. Not only has he captured  the charm of the coloured houses to be seen in Bristol, he took it just a stone's throw from where his dad was born.  I can just imagine my husband, aged six, in his short trousers and dragging his feet up the hill to go to school - back in the days when all the houses were grey.

Welcome to Quilt Musings and Carlaincrestwoodky, the latest followers - thank you for joining!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Free Motion Oak Leaves on Bronze


This is a re-working of the oak leaves design, this time on a gorgeous shot cotton from Oakshott, a deep gold woven with dark red, and which has a wonderful autumnal golden bronze colour in real life. The leaves are worked on a slightly smaller scale than the original test piece I did, and consequently the acorns had to be a bit smaller.  They ended up being a bit fiddly, so I didn't do as many.  On the right hand side of the panel I have done the leaves and berries shown in a previous picture.  The colours in the latest photo are far more accurate - months of grey skies mean rubbish photos and lots of cheating with the computer so you can see the stitching.



The quilting on the random coloured strip down the centre is a bit cramped.  There is some nice wobbly stitching in there, but it looks fine from a distance.  I have done a much simpler pattern on the panels I did after this one, just a line of spirals, and it looks far better.

With these panels, because I am doing different designs separated by a small strip, I have had to make sure that the density of the quilting is consistent over the entire panel.  I remember seeing Leah Day explaining this in one of her videos, and showing how dense quilting in one part of the quilt can lead to fullness in adjacent parts of the quilt that are less densely quilted. So far so good... getting plenty of practice makes it easier to keep the density of the quilting reasonably consistent.

Linking up today to Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee has Started!


My favourite programme has started.  For the next couple of months Tuesday nights are special, spaghetti bolognese in front of the telly to watch the Great British Sewing Bee!  This year there is a great bunch of contestants all working in a beautiful sewing room in a converted warehouse beside the Thames.

So what has the close-up of the scrappy cot quilt got to do with the Great British Sewing Bee? Well, it's all about Cliff, the first contestant to leave - not because he was eliminated, but because he wasn't well.  Such a shame, because he clearly has talent, just look at his shirt!  I recognised those strawberries instantly.  The pink of the strawberries stands out beautifully against the navy background, and the little blueberries in the design add a splash of blue. Colourful, in a sober sort of way.  It is a lovely smooth cotton poplin, so Cliff knew it was not only striking, but comfortable, nice to wear, and easy to wash and iron.  Top marks to Cliff.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

It's Nearly Spring...


... and we have had the wettest most miserable winter ever, so to cheer things up a bit I have started an appliqué daffodil.  This is the daffodil on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt.  The one I am doing now will be very similar, and so far I have done the two stems  and have nearly finished the second of the three leaves. 

I only have the right hand leaf to do, but this time it will not be gracefully drooping.  Doing that curve took an inordinate length of time, persuading it into shape with gathering stitches, water and the iron. Despite taking photographs to record how I did it, I decided it was an experience that wasn't worth repeating. All I can really remember about the whole episode was getting a little too hot and cussy.

So now there is a daffodil in the making, which will be completed by St. David's Day.  After that I have to decide whether it will be a wall hanging or the central panel of a quilt.

Hello to Luna of Blueball Mountain, the latest follower - thank you for joining!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Wall Screw Moss on the Bridge


This moss is about an inch tall, growing on the stone parapet of a bridge over the railway.

I have to confess I almost didn't do a pretty picture for this Sunday.  The overall picture here is mud, and we count ourselves lucky.  I cannot remember so much flooding in so many different parts of the country coming at the same time as such terrifying storms on the coast.  But I got out for a walk yesterday, the sun actually shone for a short while, and there was beauty to be found after all.

I have done a quick internet search and found that this moss is tortula muralis or wall screw moss - at first sight a strange name, but very appropriate, as illustrated on this fascinating blog, Cabinet of Curiosities.

Welcome to JoAnne and Webster, the latest followers - thank you for joining!


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Another Scrappy Cot Quilt


After having such a good time making the scrappy cot quilt last month, I have made another, just finished this afternoon.  The fabrics in the centre are mainly shades of red and blue, mostly florals, not of themselves what you might first think of as being ideal for a cot quilt.



Once this vintage style nursery print was on around the border the whole thing just looked a whole lot pinker.  The toys hanging out their washing are just hilarious.  



Luckily I found variegated quilting thread in red, blue and neutral shades, perfect for the centre panel. I used a different thread for the border.



It is always interesting to see how the colours work with each other.  I love the way the blue hexagon on the rectangle of patchwork print just seems to float.  Also, in this picture four of the fabrics date back to the late 70s or early 80s.  I am gradually using them up.

To make this quilt I used three machines, the 1945 Singer 15K treadle for the quilting, the 1949 hand machine for some of the strips (the ones with lots of seams to feed through) and the binding, and the 1936 201K treadle for the rest of the strips , as shown on last week's video.

Welcome to Lorna McMahon and Martha Murphy, the latest followers - thank you for joining!

Lots more projects to see at the links...
Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday 
and M-R's blog Quilt Matters for TGIFF
and Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Making Wrinkles Disappear


I wonder how many Google searches for anti-wrinkle cream will end up here.

Here is the section of border that was giving me problems yesterday.  I had done the free motion quilting all the way round the border and got to the last few inches and found there was too much fullness in the top layer.  Unpicking the quilting was out of the question.  It would have made an even bigger mess.  Instead I filled the unquilted section of the top with parallel lines of running stitch to ease in the fullness.  It looks like an atrocious darn or frightful smocking.



Next, I filled in the last section of free motion quilting. 



After pulling out the running stitches, the top still looked rather creased...



... so I splashed on a bit of water...



... gave it a quick blast with a hair drier, and it didn't look too bad at all.



This little duck looks a little bit creased, but compared to the eighth of an inch pleat that I started out with, this is nothing.

So in the end, not too bad a job after all.  Next time I think I should start in the middle of each side and work towards the corners, but will that be asking for trouble at each corner? Suggestions please!

Linking up today to Lee's blog Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A Bit of a Problem with the Free Motion Quilting


This was my view this morning - the latest scrappy cot quilt in position on the Singer 15K treadle ready for the free motion quilting.  All went well, or so I thought, until at some stage I must have slightly lost my focus.



Just like this picture.

With about six inches of quilting left to do on the border I found I had a bit of wrinkling going on. Had it been on the back I could have done a sneaky pleat, but it was on the front.  This evening I am seeing how I can fudge it.  I will let you know...

Welcome to Ruth Ann, the latest follower - thank you for joining!

Linking up today with Connie's blog Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - A Golden Crown


Taken in May last year, a flowerhead of a rapeseed plant.  The field where this photo was taken is unbelievably muddy at the moment, so I decided a bit of nostalgia for last summer was needed.

Friday, 7 February 2014

A Welsh Leek


Today's excitement was a trip to Radstock Museum to visit the Patchwork and Quilting Exhibition organised by Midsomer Quilting.  It was nice to see my Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt on display again, and I thought this was the most appropriate panel to feature today - it will soon be St. David's Day, when no self-respecting Welshman is seen without a daffodil (for the sophisticated types) or a leek (for the true rustics) in his buttonhole.  The quilt took about eight months to make, and I was truly grateful to the Welsh for having such an easy symbol to convert into appliqué.  It was quick to do, in sharp contrast to the Scottish thistle.  And it tastes better too.

When making this quilt I took Leah Day's advice to heart - when learning free motion quilting, try doing a whole quilt in just one design.  By the time I had finished this quilt I certainly had the hang of meandering.

Of course, you can't go to an exhibition without taking a few pictures...



... and this beautiful quilt by Kathryn Chambers really catches the eye.  A little girl and her dog walking down a country lane in the summer sunlight, perfectly captured in fabric.  Stunning work.

Linking up today to Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Making a Cot Quilt Top on the Singer 201K Treadle


Having enjoyed making the scrappy cot quilt so much, I have started another.  This one will not be quite so scrappy because I am limiting the colour range, using mainly reds, blues, pinks and neutrals.  The little daisies on red are just delightful.

The 201K treadle has been being slightly neglected, so I have decided to give it a decent run on this project.  There is nothing too complicated to do - put the seam guide on the machine and then just make panels out of strips, cut across them to make stripy strips, and join them together as a cot top with yet more plain strips in between...  Making it up as I go along, in other words.


video

Once I got started with the 201K treadle yesterday it took me slightly by surprise.  I had forgotten how smoothly it runs.  Here is a little video so you can all share in the pleasure.  I can't believe I didn't knock the camera - it was just sitting at the front on the machine getting in the way.

Welcome to Blondie, the latest follower - thank you for joining!

Linking up today with Lee's blog Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday
and also Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and thread Thursday

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Vintage Appliqué Napkins


Somehow this morning I was unavoidably sucked into a charity shop and ended up with these napkins.



The hems are less than a quarter of an inch wide are sewn with herringbone stitch.



The appliqué is on a minute scale.  The measurement from the tip of the leaf to the top of the flower is a fraction over two and a quarter inches.  This napkin is the prettiest of the four because the weave of the yellow is graded, giving a darker shade to the upper petals.  The lattice pattern in the centre of the flower is worked in tiny embroidery stitches.

The work and fabric is very similar to the appliqué on the tray cloths which I have, and again I am wondering whether a pre-cut kit was used.

Welcome to Antony Lawrence, the latest follower - thank you for joining!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - A View of Bristol


My guest photographer today is my son.  This photograph was taken yesterday from the top of Cabot Tower in a howling wind.  Rather him than me.

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