Thursday, 21 May 2009

Time to catch up

Well, with the lovely weather we've been having (between very generous showers) I seem to have spent most of this week in either the garden or the greenhouse and not had much time for quilting.
I've also had a lot of time with my scrumptious grandson this week which has been delightful - but I haven't finished his Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt. In fact I was very impressed with myself, I only have the top and bottom border to sew on, they're already pieced and ready to go but I was really tired at that stage and I thought that although it's only two seams I'd be likely to do something wrong and so I stopped sewing for the day, how much self control is that?!!
I did finish my BQL trapunto challenge quiltlet and although I really enjoyed doing it, and would try the technique again, I'm not pleased with the result so won't be putting a picture up (unless it looks a whole lot better once it's washed)!
I seem to have a lot of things to finish off - quilt labels to sew on, borders to handsew etc so I've packed up a bag of projects to take to Norfolk for the holiday weekend. I'm not taking my machine so I won't be able to start anything new - other than at the planning stage, I always have a notebook with me.
I'm off to Israel in just over a week for a holiday with my son. Hoping to get some inspiration for a quilt for him while I'm there. At the moment I've just got a list of what he doesn't want - blue and white but not shades of various blues, definitely not log cabin or pinwheels, not too many blocks, not regular, maybe a central panel with borders...
watch this space.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad Quilts

Also last weekend (May Bank Holiday) I visited a quilt show by the Winterton and the Norfolk Quaker groups of quilters which was held at Catfield church and where the churchyard was decorated with gorgeous cherry blossom.

The theme of the show was Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad Quilts and there was a good range of interpretations of the design by Mandy Shaw which included traditional blocks to commemorate the life of Harriet Tubman.
There seems to be a lot of discussion about how quilts may or may not have been used during the escape of slaves but this design was about remembering the life of an incredible woman and an amazing freedom movement.

The quilts featured the block, Flying Geese, for example, as the slaves would have followed migrating geese travelling northwards.
It was interesting to see how one design looks in a variety of colours and fabrics, we don't often have the chance to make such comparisons.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Another quilter (in New Zealand) just referred me to this amazing site, do take a look, this is an example of Patsy Thompson's wonderful technique of hyperquilting.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Poppy Patchworkers Exhibition

Last weekend I enjoyed visiting the exhibition of quilting by the Poppy Patchworkers which was staged in the church in Upper Sheringham, Norfolk.
There was a lovely range of work on display and the church was a great setting for it. I thought I'd share some of my favourite quilts.
The first is called 'Recovery' and was handquilted by Pat Ormerod;

I took the picture of the red and green quilt to remind me that these colours aren't just for Christmas

and the detail in the lovely landscape quilt, Sea Breeze, was inspirational.

The local quilting groups in Norfolk are united by a county group and receive a quarterly (no pun intended!) newsletter,

Monday, 11 May 2009

Machine Quilting

I went on a wonderful workshop on Friday and just want to share some of the day with you, dear reader!
The enthusiastic and very knowledgeable and skilled tutor was Ruth Jarman and the workshop was held at Sew Creative at Wroxham Barns in Norfolk my "local" quilt shop.
Ruth started by showing us a range of her work, and then it was down to work for the ten of us on the course. What a pace she set, we achieved more than I thought possible in six hours (with a quick 20 minutes for lunch) and any single thing I learned would have been worth the day's fee!
Our aim was to create sample pieces of machine quilting and Ruth showed us how to work with just the top layer and wadding, adding the backing later. This made the process easier with less likelihood of nips and tucks! Layers were pinned, then machined. We started with straight stitch, then zigzag and then explored the more decorative stitches on our machines. It was interesting to have a peek at the other machines, Ruth is a Berninaphile but others had Pfaff and Janome machines and I was pleased with how my Silver performed.
We learned how a grid of 2" squares can be used in many different ways to mark up cloth for quilting and I got quite carried away with marking up diamonds - well, they are a girl's best friend! Ruth recommended some marking tools but also showed us how well a sliver of soap worked, even on white fabric - just remember to wash any marking off your fabric before you iron it!
On to more complex quilting, involving the use of twin needles and changing our feet!! I loved the results from a simple wavy line with two differently coloured threads but my favourite stitch had to be the Italian style quilting. No stuffing with a bodkin, just a wide twin needle and an embroidery foot, beautiful. Then it was time for FMQ - the dread of most ladies on the course! Free motion quilting made easy - relax, remove the shoulders from around the ears, remember you can stop sewing so no need for panic, go with the flow.... Even though this was the last part of a busy day, not the best time for a "difficult" skill, I have to say everybody produced a sample that they were proud of and everybody was promising to go home and do more - practice, practice, practice. I even feel confident about tackling the Trapunto challenge set by Kandy at BQL this month.
As soon as Sylvia at Sew Creative publishes the next list of workshops I'll be booking up for another with Ruth - she does a lovely one on Heirloom Quilting I understand, and I highly recommend her to you.

Been busy quilting

Back from Norfolk and it's a lovely sunny, if a bit breezy, day here in Lincolnshire so I really should be gardening. I just thought I'd share my latest sewing news first.
While I was away I finished the Japanese quilt and I'm really pleased with it - a few inaccuracies of course and a bit of fudging needed, but I'm definitely improving :)

I've now started a completely different project, a quilt using the lovely Eric Carle, Very Hungry Caterpillar fabrics from Andover fabrics It's brightly coloured and for my gorgeous grandson, Sam.