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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Not the best start ...

Yesterday I decided to get going on the Tessellating T's quilt in black and white that has been been planned for ages. Cut the first black and lots of white pieces which will be the background, checking the measurements 100 times. You guessed it, when I came to make the first block I'd cut the larger background squares 1/2" too small, so now I have masses of 5 3/8" squares to use up.Maybe there will be pillowcases too? I tried piecing to make it bigger - as below - but it doesn't look good so will re-cut, I think I have enough fabric. Hope this is not an omen!

I really like the pattern and it is tricky enough to be a reasonable challenge for me. 54 blocks to go. Target finish date is the recipients birthday (not named in case she gets to see this) in March.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Two cushions and a partridge in a pear tree

Yippee all my quilted Christmas presents are finished.

The first cushion was folded patchwork with a free motion, painted back. That was a combined present for Olivia's birthday and Christmas and was posted on Monday. She's called to say she loves it


These colours are better

First success with roller painting.
A huge improvement on before
Many thanks to Linda and Laura Kemshall who inspired me to roller paint. I was marginally tempted to do the same with the whole quilt cushion below but courage failed when I had trouble deciding on the right colour and thought how long I had worked on it. Also I got the impression that Anthea didn't really liked the painted one and it will be under her tree on Sunday.
I'm not too pleased with the whole quilt side because the thread was not enough contrast, that's a lesson learned. Nevertheless my first attempt at hand quilting was very enjoyable and portable; I did a bit on holiday in the Azores as well as a few other places.

Accurate colours

Shows the traditional Welsh pattern better?
The concept is a 'normal' front and a Christmas back. The new machine is definitely better with metallic thread than the old and the free motion quilting seemed a bit easier than with Carolina Row so perhaps I'm getting the hang of it. Or was it the glass of red wine as recommended by Pippa? Still managed to stitch my finger - won't be doing that again!

Now to wrap a few presents.......

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Carolina Row All Done

The sweet glow of satisfaction reigns. My Dad's Christmas present is now sitting underneath his tree all wrapped and labelled.

The parallel quilting for the roofs and sky worked out really well.
 The in the ditch for the houses and freehand border not quite so good, blame it on the new machine

The label was my first and I really made a meal of it with six tries before it was half acceptable for my perfectionist father. Isn't the border a great match? It was a St David's Foundation shop man's shirt bargain for £1.
I do hope he likes it.

Am more than a bit worried it's not big enough for a lap quilt for him and plan to add an extra 'stack of coins' border all round if needed.

The final product is pretty male and looks good in situ.

Sigh of relief! Now there's just one more Christmas present to make - the backing for the wholecloth cushion.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Carolina Row progress and Bargello revealed

Am getting on well with the quilting, the new Bernina is easier than the old one and the learning curve is easing off slightly. I find machine quilting quite tiring so want to take it slowly to avoid too much undoing but must crack on. Christmas is getting closer and I'm away for a week or so before without access to the machine.

I have ordered a waterproof pen highly recommended for the label. Nothing I've done has been labelled yet, though I have signed one in free motion so need to try harder to be a 'proper' quilter.

This post needs a picture so here is one I prepared earlier - the quilt that was signed. My first ever made for Harriet to have at uni.Got a bit carried away with the Kaffe Fassett style photos in my garden but I did use some of his fabrics.

Bargello Quilt and Lining

Harriet liked the bag too 

Friday, 2 December 2011

It's been a long time ...

I have been busy doing lots of things and didn't meet many (any?) of the October goals then but a new surge of sewing energy hit me in November. Could it be the imminence of Christmas?

Japanese bag is done and in use:
Japanese Bag best side

Japanese Bag side 2
 It has been admired and one person even wanted to buy it but suddenly wasn't interested when I quoted a price not even realistic to the  work. It holds lots so the bottom gets very floppy but 2 pieces of plastic canvas in the base seem to be working well. 
Now I've got the hang of the pattern, I might make a slightly smaller one with 4" or 4.5" blocks instead of 5"

Carolina Houses quilt is well on the way, all pieced and borders attached. Have bought the threads to quilt and selected the backing so it's 'just' a matter of doing it.

Carolina Row lap quilt
I'm very pleased with this. Lots of work (260 pieces), fiddly, made my head hurt sometimes, endless undoing, and still far from perfect on close examination, but not bad! Also quite challenging to meet the no red/green criteria for my colour blind 92 year old ex civil engineer Dad. 
Yes I know it has the dark red but think/hope that's OK without green. The colours will go well in his sitting room and the backing is his favourite combination of dark and light blues. The coup de grace (hopefully) will be the charity shop shirting binding combining colours from both sides. Thank you St David's Foundation Pontypool

Carolina Row Backing and Binding

My big news is that I have a new sewing machine. About 2 years old, a Bernina Aurora 430 and already using my my 31 year old 801 is becoming a dim memory. Still learning lots and am thinking of doing the Bernina training course in London. I did that last time and it helped a great deal. This one has so may tools and tricks that I need help to master them all and get the full benefit.
New Aurora 430 2009
Old 801 c 1980

Quilting Carolina Row will be the first quilting project on the Aurora, will do a mix of fixed lines and free motion. Really looking forward to it and hoping the tension will be easier than before