Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Well, Ludlow Festival is in full swing this fortnight.  It's a wonderful time to be in Ludlow with so many visitors:  the town feels really vibrant.
Each year there is a Shakespeare play set in the grounds of Ludlow Castle and this is really impressive as long as the rain holds off.  This year the play is Twelfth Night and there is a huge programme of concerts and talks in other venues around the town.

Earlier in the year I printed a photo of the castle on to fabric and then made it into a cushion cover.  I was quite pleased with the way it turned out but haven't had time to write the tutorial on printing photos on to fabric yet.  If I had had time to make more of them I could have tried selling them now during the festival.  Oh well, there's always next year.

Have you come across biscuit quilts before?  It's amazing how many quilting terms seem to relate to food.  I wonder if this says something about quilters?  Biscuit quilts are also known as puff quilts.  They are made by sewing a large square to a small square, putting in a few pleats to make the edges match up, and then adding some sort of filling to make really puffy shapes which can then be sewn to a backing fabric.  On the left you can see a quilted wall hanging that I made using this method of quilting.  This is one for which I have written the tutorial and you can find it on biscuit quilts.

This morning I received an email from Indonesia offering me a huge variety of batik fabrics.  They are absolutely beautiful colours  and the guy suggested that I call by the factory to have a look at the fabrics. 
Oh, I wish ....

Anyway, I have ordered some samples and may well start to stock them if the samples match up to the photos.  Watch this space!

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Sewing Zips

This has been quite a tumultuous week.  From the website I sent out a newsletter showing the method that I use to insert zips in cosmetic bags.  I know it's more work, but I do find that bags and cushions look more professional with a zip closure. 
There's always loads of mail to answer after a newsletter, but I love hearing from quilters all round the world.  There are so many talented people out there ....

Then I sold my Moda jelly roll quilt on Etsy.  I was really pleased with myself until I took the quilt to the post office and found that the postage to America would be £20.  As I had charged $10 for delivery it meant that I made a substantial loss on that one.  Oh well, we live and learn.

I felt that I had been spending too much time on the computer promoting the website and not enough time sewing so I started making a star quilt.  Did you know that it's possible to make star quilt blocks without inset seams?  This quilt has been really easy to make and I'll put the tutorial up when I've finished it.  The extra time taken unpicking because I forgot to make half the blocks as mirror images will be glossed over, of course.

To round my week off nicely, I had an email from Patchwork and Quilting Magazine to say that they are featuring my website in their August magazine which is really exciting.  More details on that later.

Now I'm off to Brighton for the weekend, which will round off a really enjoyable week for me.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope you'll visit me again.

Best Wishes


Friday, 17 June 2011

Finishing quilts

It looks like another British summer day today (rain and then a bit more rain) so I've decided to have a finishing off day.  I'm sure most people now are familiar with UFO meaning un finished object, but I came across one that I hadn't heard before the other day:  PFP meaning part finished project.  I think that I have plenty of those.

I made this rail fence quilt a few months ago.  It's only a small quilt (about 40" square) but I still haven't layered and quilted it.  Then I have to add the
quilt binding.  Might be a nice project to begin with as it's small enough for me to have some chance of completing it.

I've also had an order for a few more egg cosies (I didn't think that I would get any more orders for these until next Easter) and again that's a small enough project to make some progress on fairly quickly.

This is the major one that I really need to finish off so that I can write the tutorial for it, but I seem to manage to find all sorts of displacement activities to do whenever I think about it.  Yesterday my daughter Samantha and I took the dog for a walk in the forest (in between rain showers) and it took forever because Truffle is so ancient that he can only walk slowly.  It made a great displacement activity that also carried a feel good factor.

And this quilt should be top of my list of priorities to finish off.  This is the quilt that I have been making for the Beginner Quilting series of articles on my website but I still haven't added the quilt binding.  Who knows, if we have enough rain today I may even manage to do some work on it.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope to see you again soon.

Monday, 13 June 2011

African Drawings Quilt

Usually with quilts I use the patchwork design to be the focus of the quilt, but occasionally I come across a fabric that is so beautiful that it needs to be the focus of the quilt in its own right.  Actually, if I am honest, sometimes it's so beautiful that I'm afraid to cut into it and it lies in my fabric stash for ages.

That's sort of what happened to the African Drawings fabric that I was sent from Zimbabwe.  I waited ages before I used it because I couldn't decide on the best way to display it.  This week I finally took the plunge and I'm quite pleased with the way it has turned out.

It's not cotton fabric - some sort of synthetic fabric, I think.  It would have been really difficult to make a traditional patchwork quilt because the fabric would have been sliding all over the place so I used strips surrounded by brown and black fabric to showcase it.  I felt that I wanted large strips of the fabric rather than using it in a bag or a cushion where you wouldn't be able to see the full design on the fabric.

Quilting would obviously have been just as much of a problem, so I meander quilted the brown fabric but just put a swirl up the middle of the African fabric strip to hold everything in place.

Now that it's done I love it.  I hope you like it too. 
Thanks for visiting my blog.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Jelly Roll Quilts

This week I've had a delivery of some gorgeous jelly rolls from Fabric Freedom.  I'm a great fan of jelly rolls because they provide an easy way of using loads of different fabrics without having to buy 1/4 yard of each one.  Also, you know that all the fabrics will go with each other because the jelly rolls are colour co ordinated.

I dived in to my new stock and started making a jelly roll quilt.  This one has quite a lot of black and white fabric so it will probably be quite a large quilt when I've finished.  I'm going to try and finish it and write up the tutorial next week.

A few weeks ago I made a square in square quilt which wasn't actually made from a jelly roll, but it was made entirely from 2.1/2" strips so it could easily be made using a jelly roll.  The point of this quilt was an amazing half square ruler from Creative Grids that I was using for the first time.  It really did make a huge difference to the time taken to make the quilt.  I bought some extra rulers to sell but ended up losing money because I couldn't seem to pack them securely enough:  three of them arrived broken so my profit disappeared after I had replaced them free of charge.  I still love the ruler, but I'm not stocking it any longer!

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you again.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Nine Patch Quilts and Flying Geese

Oh dear - bit of a long break from my blog, but now I'm back and raring to go.

The Malvern Quilts UK spring show was as delightful as ever.  So many quilts to see, so much talent on display .....
I find that when I'm frantically busy, as I have been over these past few months, that it's easy to miss a quilt exhibition by  forgetting just when it's on.  I don't know about you, but I read about a show in one of the quilting magazines and think that I'd like to go and then before I know it the date has been and gone.  I think that I may set up a page on my website of exhibitions and places of interest for quilters to visit - not just in the UK but anywhere.

I've added a tutorial for a Balkan Puzzle quilt to the website. I used a fairly random selection of fabrics and was really pleased at how well the colours went together.  I've always been a sucker for blue fabrics and seem to manage to work blue into a lot of my quilts, but this quilt made me realise that I should venture out of my comfort zone more often.

And I had a similar feeling when I made a simple nine patch quilt to showcase a flying geese quilt border:  not only was I using colours that I hadn't put together before, but I realised that nine patch quilts have enormous possibilities and are incredibly easy to put together once you have decided on your colour combinations.  The flying geese border was speed pieced and that made it quite easy to put together.

 One major piece of news was having my jelly roll quilt pattern published by Moda Bakeshop. I love the Moda fabric range and am thrilled to be able to use the 'as featured on Moda Bakeshop' logo. The tutorial for that quilt is on a previous post on this blog.

Daughter Samantha has finished her exchange year at the University of Arizona and is travelling with a friend for a few weeks before returning to the UK.  She is currently in Mexico with food poisoning and a blocked credit card so I shall be relieved when she returns home safely next week.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I'll be back far more regularly with quilting news now.