"There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms. A physical, an emotional, a mental and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room everyday, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person."

Rumer Godden 1907 - 1998

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Small Blog Meet

I returned to regular stitching and blogging less than a month ago and I've found so many new techniques, ideas and ways of stitching that I may have enough ideas to keep me occupied for decades! My stitching buddy was over yesterday for a day of stitching, and as she was there for moral support I thought I'd sort out some of my stash fabrics. Depending on what I'm doing, I'm either an embroiderer who quilts, or, a quilter who embroiders, so my stash contains lots of fabrics that aren't suited to making quilts that will be functional.

After my sorting out and a lot of cutting, today has been devoted to lots of chain piecing and more cutting, so I've been able to work on 4 projects over the day. As far as I'm concerned strip piecing is a very effective way of working, although there has to be a lot of cutting done ahead of time to set this up.

While I was tidying yesterday, this little pile of silks, and other fabrics came together almost by accident, and today I started some strip piecing to make some strippy blocks. I'm working these so I can square them up to 6.5 inches. This will be an embroiderer's quilt, so not one that will be functional, and its been inspired by a quick flick through one of the many embroidery books on my shelves that I haven't really used. It'll probably be subjected to some embroidery rather than quilting to finish it.

My millwheel quilt is taking shape quite nicely, I'm stitching the HST squares into strips and will soon be ready to stitch the strips into blocks. I'm making 9 blocks which will give me a top approximately 54 inches square. I haven't made any decisions about whether I need a border or not, I want to get the top pieced before I decide.

Finally, my last photo of the day is progress on my Honeycomb pillow designed by Janelle at Echinops and Asters. The front needs outer borders, then I can move onto the back of the pillow.

Linking to Lily's Quilts and a Small Blog Meet.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

My current WIPs are coming along nicely.

I'm making steady progress with my Honeycomb Stitch- Along pillow. The embroidery will be finished today as will cutting out the remaining pieces and I may well start the machine piecing. The embroidered bees are a lovely touch, and even without the final details they look lifelike. Once I finish cutting the pieces for this, I'll be able to assess if I have enough fabric over to use for one of the BOMs I purchased yesterday.

My millwheel quilt is coming along nicely too, the strips for the centres are all made, and the other 36 strips are taking shape too. I'm almost at the stage where I can lay a few strips and some of the squares that make up the strips out on the table and move them about to see how they look. The fabric is Kate Spain's Cuzco for Moda.

I'm also going to continue with drafting some traditional blocks in a different way until I come up with a design for the fabrics I mentioned at the start of March. I've played about with Storm at Sea and Corn and Beans, I have a few potential blocks from my playing. Next on the list is trying to expand a star block by adding a half repeat to one side.

I'm going to have a lovely super busy WIP Wednesday! Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee Block 2

This week's block is from Amy at Sukie Don't Ya Know. Its a stunning block and looks very dramatic in my chosen colour scheme.

I've learnt a few things making this block:

  • I need to read the directions properly
  • I need to make sure I use a scant 1/4" seam
  • my seam ripper is my most useful tool

Monday, 18 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

We had lovely guests yesterday which prevented me linking up with Sew Sunday over on Fairy Merry,  I managed to cut a very small pile of 4.5 inch squares towards enough scrappy Mill Wheel block from Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Blocks and Borders to make a lap quilt. My blocks will be 20 inches square, so I figure I'll make 4 of these, then add a strip of sashing and finally use a partial block to make a border.

Instead this is this week's WIP with Freshly Pieced, I've been cutting squares and machining the centre strips of my blocks together, and I'm about to start on a stack of HSTs next. The fabric is Moda's Cuzco by Kate Spain with assorted white on whites as background.

My reading list as I find projects and interesting tutorials is getting very very long- there's so many lovely projects and ideas out there. I'm planning an extra long weekend over Easter to give me some time to play about with some of what I've found and bookmarked.

As Google Reader is closing, in common with many other bloggers I'm looking for alternatives and I'm trying out Bloglovin.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee

I've joined the Virtual Quilting Bee over at Diary of a Quilter. It sounded like fun, and a great way to make a quilt over the coming year, 2 blocks a month isn't going to be a huge commitment. Once again I have stash fabric I can use for the blocks, I'm making a scrappy version, in black, red and white. I'll need to buy yardage for sashing and borders, if I see something I like while I'm making the blocks I'll buy it, so I can fit some into them I will, otherwise I'll buy a solid colour which with my colour palette shouldn't be too difficult.

The first block is a star from Sherri over at A Quilting Life, here's my version:

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

WIP Wednesday - Honeycomb Pillow

My first WIP Wednesday!

I fell in love with this delightful pillow a couple of days ago over on a new to me blog Echinops and Asters. It's a cheerful well designed pillow, combining a number of techniques in a single project, ideal for brushing up on skills I learned circa 1980!  After a day of indecision on Sunday, I put together a bunch of fabrics from my stash in warm autumnal shades:

The first stage in making the cushion is English Paper Piecing, which I last did about 30 years go, and I'd forgotten how easy making paper pieced hexagons was. I made and joined the 10 hexagons needed in an evening.

My hexes are pinned in place ready for me to sew this evening:

Linking to this week's post at WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Then and Now

Over the last few months as I've been looking at what's going on in the quilting world, I've discovered a new fresh look to fabrics and projects which I really love. Traditional blocks, patterns and techniques are being taken up by a new generation of stitchers, adapted and worked in a brighter scrappier way. The internet is enabling fabulous ideas and patterns to be shared, I've always been a big fan of scrap quilts so to see beautifully co-ordinated original scrap style quilts being worked by this new generation in new ways is a joy. The colours are fresh and vibrant, the prints stylised and beautifully designed, I've found it hard to resist, the selection below are some I bought recently to liven up my stash for a quilt I'm planning. 

I've been playing about with enlarged and exploding traditional quilt blocks, and have come up with something based on storm at sea that I'm quite pleased with. I'm going to draw a block up full size, take a couple of copies and play about with arrangements.

I'm loving my return to things I used to do, like appliqué. I used appliqué a lot when doing my City and Guilds courses over 10 years ago (gasps!), usually reverse appliqué with lovely soft raw edges. I rarely did any needleturn or machine appliqué, both seemed very fiddly and too precise for my tastes. I'm trying a single small Baltimore Album block while I'm waiting impatiently for a pack of "Wash-Away Appliqué Sheets" to arrive so I can start an on-line class from Craftsy called "Machine Finished Hand Appliqué". Again the internet comes into play with online classes and tutorials to be shared and watched.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Time Marches On

Where did the last few months go? It's March and I've done very little with the good intentions I posted about last September. Life's been hectic with renovations to the house, family, friends and work. Over the last two weeks I've been taking tiny steps back to doing more than just knitting- a few new book purchases, setting up my sewing machine, joining the Quilter's Guild of the UK, finding a local quilting group.

I did start a sketchbook from ideas on the Sketchbook Challenge, I've worked on about half the pages in it. I didn't want blank paper so I glued scraps of paper to some of the pages. That has as many drawbacks as blank pages, some of the papers I chose were painted or coloured in some way which almost rendered the pages unusable.

Two of the most successful pages so far are small sketches of some Aquilegia seedheads I picked in the garden. The first, rather dark page, shows a stem of the seed heads, the silk paper this was worked over was heavily textured and being silk the pens dragged the surface. Its quite an interesting sketch, I particularly like the shape of the paper as it emphasises the natural curve in the drawing.

The picture of the single head below was definitely the more successful of the two and has possibilities for future textile work. I'm considering a pieced panel for some free machine embroidery embellished with hand stitching. For now the sketch book is sitting propped open  in my study while I think about interpretation.

In the works is a panel taken from some sketchbook play done shortly after I made my initial post in September last year. The plan for this is a sketchbook wrap, so the A4 size is quite important. My plans are for a mixed media piece, the design is shown first then, the first tentative stage in bringing this to life. I say tentative as I'm using pages taken from log tables as I used these in the design and placing the scrim over the top rather obscures the text which was a feature in the design. I've pinned it together and I'm content to live with it for a while.

Tonight I'm going to the quilting group, so I've set up some hand quilting to take along. In the 20 years or so since I last did any hand quilting I've lost the rocking motion that goes with using size 10, or smaller quilting needles. I'm hoping that over time I'll get this back, otherwise I could be handquilting this piece forever, its roughly 40 x 30 inches in size. It's is a piece of hand-dyed cloth that I dyed maybe 5 or more years ago. By some happy accident in how the dye reacted with the cloth it has a look of umbels, or seed heads left behind when Cow Parsley finishes flowering. Could there be a seed head theme going on here?