recently attended a Sewcial Retreat arranged by Viv of Purple
Stitches, a Patchwork & Quilting store based in Basingstoke. This
is the second time that I have attended the Retreat which is held at
a the VOCO Oxford Thames hotel on the outskirts of the city.
time I was joined on the retreat by my good friend Pat so was able to
share the journey and accommodation.
of the activities is a Secret Sister gift making and sharing. This
time the project was a pin cushion and having checked out the
instagram feed of my selected partner I made the pin cushion in her
favourite colour and featuring her favourite pet – a cat.
Jackie was delighted with her gift as was I with my reversible Bicornu pin cushion.
Whilst at the retreat I was able to make three garments and undertake a new technique – ‘Quilt as You Go’ more posts later…..
Recently we have enjoyed a few days of Spring-like weather and that prompted me to change the quilts on my husband’s grand piano. The ‘Winter Chills’ quilt has been returned to storage and replaced by this colourful quilt made using two jelly rolls plus remnants from my fabric stash. The quilt was made on one of the Rookwood Retreat Days a couple of years ago and is a nice reminder of a most enjoyable time spent with fellow patchwork and quilters.
The Lilac-coloured ‘highlight’ squares (snowballing) at the corner of each block were suggested by Meg at New Threads Quilt Shop whilst the other colours remind me of all the beautiful Spring flowers that have been emerging over the past few weeks. Snowdrops, Aconites, Crocus, Hellebore, Daffodils, Iris and a few Pretty Polyanthus.
Although the weather today is blowing a gale and upping the wind chill factor, indoors we are nice and snug with the sunshine reminding us of the warmer days to come.
As promised, here are my Top Twenty Makes from last year. With the exception of the Ultimate Travel Bag that I made to take as Cabin luggage on my flight to the Caribbean, I am pretty sure that I will be repeating all these garments using fabric from my stash. So watch this space!
Now that we are in a new year I have put away the Christmas linens and that has included changing the quilt on my husband’s piano.
The Christmas log cabin quilt has been removed for another 11 months and been replaced with my Winter-themed quilt.
This was made using the same patchwork block design as the Autumnal Quilt shown in an earlier post. The faux Cathedral Window blocks were made using two charm packs plus some additional Fat Quarters of coordinating fabrics from New Threads Quilt shop.
Quilt is one of my husband’s favourites and will be displayed until
14th February when it will be replaced by the ‘Hearts and
Flowers’ Valentine Quilt.
forgot to mention that I changed the quilt on the piano just in time
for Christmas Day! Usually I am ahead of myself and all the Christmas
linens are displayed from 1st December but this year has
been a little behind.
quilt previously covering the piano was the ‘Autumn’ version which I
made over a year ago using two charm packs and some remnants of
fabric from my stash. The patchwork is a form of faux cathedral
window and a particular favourite of mine. The ‘Winter’ quilt
features the same design in a different colourway and will be
installed by Twelfth Night.
Meantime, we are enjoying the Christmas log cabin quilt. This is the first quilt that I made specifically with the grand piano in mind. All the strips of Christmas-themed cotton fabrics were cut by a great friend who sadly has now passed away. This quilt is a reminder of a lovely lady who enjoyed life to the full, was a super cook and needlewoman, always smiling, a friend who bore all the vicissitudes of illness with aplomb.
Regretfully, I cannot find a full photograph of the quilt, as soon as I can I will post.
before I fell ill with chronic Bronchitis I, together with my great
friend, Adrienne, attended the Rookwood Sewing Retreat Day. This has
become an event held twice a year when we like-minded sewing
enthusiasts descend on the Rookwood School for a day a sewing,
chatting, eating and downright 100% enjoyment with our sewing
On offer were several projects to make starting with a Jelly Roll Rug, mat or bag, something that seems to have taken the internet by storm.
I had prepared by bringing along a jelly roll, some pre-cut wadding and plenty of pre-wound bobbins as I knew that the project was particularly ‘thread hungry’.
Before commencing on that BIG project, we were also shown some clam-shaped zip-top pouches.
They looked really cute and the pattern was available in several sizes from extra small to extra large. As I knew that I would be needing some form of pouch or bag in which to put Christmas gifts, I started the sewing marathon with a Medium-sized pouch.
During the day we undertook a block stitching challenge which was really well-prepared with all the triangles of fabric pre-cut. All we had to do was stitch into the CORRECT order and ensure that we kept to a strict ¼ inch seam allowance. All the completed blocks were then drawn and distributed to lucky winners to make up into a project of their choice. I was unlucky but Adrienne did win a set of blocks with which she was delighted.
stopped for a delicious lunch to which everyone had contributed. All
lunch I started on the mammoth task of the jelly roll. I intended to
make a bag which I continued stitching at home. I can only say that
this turned out to be the most unusual-shaped bag that I have every
ended the day tired but happy, loaded up with a head full of
inspiration and new ideas for our sewing.
You may be wondering why this post has a sub-title, the reason is that the quilt has been constructed using both ancient and modern techniques and equipment! The pieces for the patchwork blocks were cut using my Accuquillt GO! Die-cutting machine (Modern) and the whole quilt constructed using my new Singer Featherweight sewing machine (Ancient!).
The central applique uses Modern methods – Google to find a cat motif, Heat n’ Bond to apply to the background fabric and my ‘old’ tried and tested method to outline with a double row of fine zig-zag stitching using my ‘Ancient’ Brother 4000D sewing machine.
The fabric was a gift for my birthday (all my friends know that I am a shoe-in for any fabric featuring cats) and I could not wait to make something to showcase these delightful prints. The Drunken Bird blocks have taken aback seat whilst I ‘play’ with the die-cutting machine and ‘Pearl’s a Singer’ sewing machine.
I have basted the quilt top to some polyester wadding and now simply need to find a suitable backing fabric. I fancy a bold print to echo the front rather than stick to a plain calico backing. The search is on……
With apologies for the poor photograph – as soon as I have more people available to assist, I will post a better picture. Finally, the quilt is finished. This has been a labour of love. I never thought when I started just how much quilting would be involved.
The quilt has a plain polyester wadding purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop. Combined with some heavy-duty quilting in the centre panel of 25 blocks this has resulted in a fairly ‘stiff’ quilt. As the finished size of the quilt is 64 inches square it has also turned out quite heavy. But I love it!
The central panel of 25 blocks is outlined with a border of Yellow low impact print which in turn has a border of Green background Bird and Bows print (bought from Fabricland and also used for a blouse AND a dress!)
The Yellow border has a simple quilting design of interlocking leaf shapes for which I made a template and then transferred using a Frixion ® pen. As the Green border is only 1 inch wide, it has a central row of ‘wavy line’ stitching. For the outer border blocks I have only quilted within the bird shapes.
I had deliberately cut the backing fabric extra wide and this was trimmed down to ½ inch beyond the quilt top before folding in the raw edge, turning to the top and machine-stitching in place.
I may (at some time in the future) re-visit and quilt into the blank spaces of the outer border blocks, but currently don’t know yet with what motif.
I am so in love with this particular block that I have already made over a dozen additional blocks that I will combine to make a much smaller lap quilt.
Till then, the Drunken Caribbean Birds quilt is on display on the piano and I am very proud!
Those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis will have noticed that there has been no posting for 6 days! Fear not – I have been sewing just that the project on which I am working is very much a WIP (work in progress). I have finally bitten the bullet and started the quilting of my Drunken Caribbean Birds quilt.
I last discussed this project on 26th May and since then I have made a couple of garments but now I have taken over the dining room, extended the dining table to its full size and got down to some ruler and free-motion quilting.
This is my first venture into ruler work and I have to say that I am loving it! I spread the quilt all over the table, roll up one side to slide under the arm of the sewing machine and get stitching. OK it is not perfect but I am getting there and really enjoying the process. This is a real lesson in slow sewing.
So far I have quilted about a dozen of the bird blocks and filled in the ’empty’ spaces with ovals. I am using a Westalee ruler plus a ‘french curve’ template which has different-sized oval cut outs that are ideal for the filler motifs.
I am trying to work on the quilt for about an hour at a time before taking a break. That way I hope to avoid too much strain on my shoulders, try as I might, I cannot stop myself from tensing up as I wrestle the quilt and rulers whilst stitching.
Taking a break also gives me the opportunity to refresh – and cut out other projects! So the next post will probably be a garment.
I was somewhat overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead…. I have now completed the patchwork of the quilt top.
To the original 25 blocks I added a narrow border of Green background bird print cotton purchased from Fabricland (this print is also used for the backing of the quilt).Then, and I don’t know what possessed me, I made a further 28 (yes 28!) drunken bird blocks for the outer border. This has brought the size of the quilt top up to approximately 64 inches which is a little over the size that I normally make for later display on my husband’s grand piano.
I purchased some polyester wadding from New Threads Quilt shop and on a rainy Sunday afternoon I laid out the backing, wadding and quilt top on our twin beds and ‘layered up’ the quilt. I used 505 temporary spray adhesive and quilting safety pins to keep all the layers together and set the quilt aside whilst I thought about how to quilt…..
Three weeks later I had a couple of additional blocks that I had hand-stitched at Sprat & Winkle Quilters club evenings. I used these for trialling a quilting design.
I am happy with the quilting within the bird shapes but at present am not sure how I will deal with the empty spaces of the backgrounds. Possible cloud shapes?
For now I am taking yet another break from this project so that I can make a Red dress to wear on 3rd June when my husband and I will celebrate our RUBY wedding anniversary.