Friday, 22 May 2015

Sail Away



After starting this quilt at the beginning of the year, it is now on its way to Norway to my relatively recently arrived great nephew. 


I initially planned this to be a square quilt and found an ideal sea-like background fabric in the bargain baskets at Abakhan. Somewhere along the planning the process I added in an extra row which meant that when it came to cutting the background fabric, there was only just enough.


The quilt is backed with fleece and the binding is a rainbow dotty print (both from the bargain baskets at Abakhan). It is quilted with Aurifil 40wt - the boats are outlined with stitching in the ditch and I used preset wavy line stitches for the waves. 

 


The pattern is available for free from Quilt Mag, should you wish to make one.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Flying the Flag (a Pattern for an EPP Union Jack)


A few posts ago I blogged about my competition entries for the Uttoxeter Quilt and Stitch Village. The Union Jack made of EPP hexagons was for the special category of British Royalty celebrating the longest serving monarchs, hence the inclusion of the royal cyphers for Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.


By the magic of Photoshop, I can show you how the flag would look without these cyphers (much easier than making another!). 

 
If you would like to make one yourself, details of the number of hexagons, finished sizes, and the pattern for this English paper pieced Union Jack can now be found in the projects/tutorials section of this blog. The pattern was designed so that it remained as true as possible, when using hexagons, to the correct aspect ratio of the flag and also to the relative widths of the various sections (if you want to know more about this, click here). You may wish to modify the pattern so that is is more suited for snuggling under than flying from a flag pole.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Fast Fabric





This is just a quick post to share with you the excellent service shown by Oakshott Fabrics (and the Royal Mail). After seeing some Oakshott fabrics at the quilt show in Uttoxeter, I decided it was better to bite the bullet and order some sample swatches rather than try to guess colour matching from online images. I placed my order yesterday and the swatches arrived this morning!



As Oakshott have shimmery effect which is difficult to photograph, the swatch packs will be very useful and are really rather good value. Most, I think, come with a money off voucher for future purchases and some include a mini charm pack. To find the swatch packs on the Oakshott website, just enter "sample" in the search box.

(Please note, this post is written purely because I am so pleased with the service from Oakshott and not because I have received anything other than my order from them.)

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A grand day out



I mentioned in my last post that I had a couple of entries in the British Quilt and Stitch Village show and on Sunday it was time to go to the show and collect them.

We decided to make a day of it and first went to SudburyHall which is only a few miles from Uttoxeter. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours there, got some lunch and, given the weather was so much better than forecast, sat in the sun by the lake. I even managed to do some fabric shopping, spotting these rather P&Q appropriate tea towels in the shop (I have plans for a sewing caddy for these). At only £8 for two I thought these good value, especially as they were wrapped with ~1m of gross-grain ribbon.


Then it was on to Uttoxeter for the last hour or so of the quilt show. Arriving at this time meant the crowds had been and gone and there was plenty of room to do some shopping and view the competition entries. I was quite focussed with my shopping, but surprised myself at how much I could spend in a short time. First in the bag was some Oakshott cottons, quickly followed by some more shot cottons, all for the quilt for my husband. Then it was time for some bargain hunting - I found lace zips at 5 for £5 and a rummage in the thread baskets resulted in 12 reels of silk thread for £10 (I used the same thread for piecing and quilting the rainbow pouch and wanted to add more colours to my stash). My final purchases were a reel of 40wt Aurifil and very small quilting ruler which will come in handy more for measuring that cutting.  


Then it was time to wander around the quilting displays and it was great being able to view the quilts without having to worry about bumping into people. The work on display was stunning which was only to be expected given there were entries from professional textile artists and full-time quilters. I must admit to a little bit of excitement at seeing my own entries on display, though if I ever enter another show, perhaps I should roll not fold a quilt for packing.



(I’ve put more photos of these at the end of this post.)

It was rather like report day at school when I got the comment forms but I packed them in boot of the car and had to wait until I got home to read them. Given the calibre of the other entrants, it was no surprise that my entries did not get placed but the judges’ comments were very fair and it was nice to see a few excellents on the report sheet. 

 

This is my third time visting this show and I must admit to liking it for its size and location - it is not at every quilt show that you can sit in the sun on the grandstands looking over a racecourse. I’m sure I will be back again next year, but I’ve yet to decide whether it will be as competition observer or a competition entrant.



Quilt (Special Theme Category- British Royalty)






Rainbow Pouch (3D Category)




Thursday, 16 April 2015

Finally Finished



I was in two minds whether to blog about these before or after the show, but the reason things have been quiet here is that I’ve been working on couple of entries for the British Quilt and Stitch Village, the postal deadline for which was this week. After a couple of weekends of continual sewing, I finally finished them late on Sunday night and got them in the post on Monday morning. Unfortunately these photos will have to do until after the show as I had to spend most of Sunday burying ~500 ends (I'm not sure I want to know exactly how many!) and I only had time to grab a few photos on Monday morning before having to leave for work and the post office.
   


The pouch (for the three dimensional category) is made of silk dupion EPP diamonds and is hand quilted with silk thread. It is filled to overflowing with Suffolk puffs and is supposed to represent treasure at the end of the rainbow. The flag is for the special theme category (British Royalty) and is made of ~1300 half-inch EPP hexies. It is quilted in red, white and blue with 40 wt Aurifil in the needle and 50 wt Aurifil in the bobbin. The VR and ER signify the current and future longest serving British monarchs and my thinking was that the mix of traditional Liberty prints and modern metallics, along with traditional EPP and modern machine quilting would reflect how British royalty have to balance the traditional with the modern.

The flag took much longer to complete than anticipated, particularly burying all the ends, and by Sunday evening I just wanted the thing finished which probably means the latter stages could have been done a lot better. Even just looking at the photos now, I can spot several hexies where the colour contrast could be improved and I'm sure my binding technique is not up to quilt show standards.

These projects have taken up all of my sewing time for the past few months and now they are finished, I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do next. I think it could be time to start my husband’s quilt and which involves no hexies or hand sewing at all.