Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Crochet

I'm no expert at crochet, but my good friend, Melanie, taught me the basics when we were students and living in a shared house without a television. We had some fun evenings, with several girls sitting around making blankets. More recently I have been influenced by this amazing blog, which is full of inspiration. Then I came across this lovely book, and used the pattern to make the circular cushion. It wasn't completely straightforward, but overall I'm pleased with how it turned out.


Back to the simple stuff, and I made this little pram blanket for a colleague who had a baby recently.


On this blanket I did the easy work, and my mother-in-law made all the beautiful flowers and butterflies. This one gets used to snuggle under by lovely girl when she's watching television. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Christmas gift ideas

These gorgeous little gift bags were made from the pattern blogged about here! It is a wonderful pattern, so easy to make and so adaptable.


Add in a tissue holder, from here...



... with some chocolates or jam, and you have a great Christmas gift ready to go.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Rocking chair

Last year my lovely girl wrote to Father Christmas nice and early (September... LOL). Thanks to an act of cunning on the part of her godmother, who she asked to take her to the post box, we were later able to check on what she had requested! Thankfully she does not ask for much, but she does it in style: it was a beautiful, artistic letter, with pictures all around it, asking for a rocking chair...Father Christmas is pretty shrewd, and it seems he knew mummy would enjoy this project more than any of his elves. So, he acquired a rocking chair in plenty of time (maybe even Father Christmas uses ebay?) and left it in the garage with a note for mummy to sort it out.


The quilt is made out of the amazing Far, far away II range of fabric, which I ordered online from America. It's quite heavy fabric, and with the beautiful images it works well in simple designs.




Fortunately the seat was very easy to cover, as it lifts straight out of the base. I used the same fabric to back the quilt, and then to re-cover a stool which is a great match, and had come out of my grandmother's cellar when we cleared her house.



To quilt this, I used the traditional method of hand tying. I rarely, if ever, see this method on blogs now, but I love the effect it creates, especially on a thicker, heavier quilt.




The beautiful linen mouse came from here and was another Christmas present. Beth's linen animals are amazing, and I totally recommend them if you are still looking for this year's presents. Her packaging in itself is an art form! Have a look at her wonderful foxes.


Finally, cat and mouse...


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Christmas quilting...


I can't yet blog anything I've made for this year's Christmas presents, but here's one from last year that went to my lovely cousin and his wife. I chose to stick to a simple design with clean lines and straightforward quilting.


Friday, 18 November 2011

Festive jam!

Another lovely friend dropped round a bag of fabric last week. Amongst it was this gorgeous red silk, perfect for festive jam lids for the church Christmas fair.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Amy Butler...

It didn't take me long to discover the amazing fabric designer, Amy Butler. I loved this range of pink fabrics too much to cut them down, and arranging them as large squares was just right for this small quilt.




It now lies over a chair which I rescued from my grandmother's house clearance, and which is where I sit and listen to my daughter practising the piano.


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Ruby

A quilt for a ruby wedding anniversary... Forty 'nine patches' to represent forty years of marriage, each with a ruby square in the middle. All in blue and white as the favourite colours of the recipients.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Pretty patchwork bags...

I made several of these last year, as birthday presents for some of my lovely girl's special friends on their seventh birthdays. Obviously she got one too ;-)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Quilty cats...

Last year I made this quilt for my lovely friend, Emma, as a special birthday present. Unfortunately I have found that polka dot fabrics don't photograph well, but the quilt turned out really nicely. The first photo was taken at our house, but when I saw it on her futon it was great to see how well it coordinated, which was a complete fluke as I hadn't realised she'd bought new curtains.








Obviously you can't master a cat quilt design without making another one for the cat...





Monday, 7 November 2011

Fabricky friends!

About the time I finished my first quilt, two people kindly passed on their own fabric supplies. In both cases they'd bought pre-cut patchwork pieces, and eventually decided they were unlikely to use them. My good friend, Melanie, gave me enough fabric to make an entire quilt for my daughter, largely using pre-cut squares which sewed together very quickly. As a thank you, I made her this mini version of Insanity, which she enjoys using as a sofa throw, especially as I used her childhood curtains as the backing. All the fabrics in it had come via her mum I think, so it is a sentimental quilt.


When I was a child, I can remember Laura Ashley selling pre-cut packs of patchwork pieces. It seems that both Melanie's mum and my mother-in-law must have had the same idea, as coincidentally they both purchased packs of hexagons from the same fabric range. Between the two sets, I have ended up with enough to make a whole quilt one day. I've got as far as arranging the design, but it will be some time post-Insanity before I start sewing them together. Unfortunately they are not quite accurate enough to use the machine, so that will be another hand-sewing task...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Insanity

Three years ago, right after finishing Liberty, I saw this quilt featured on another blog. (The magazine article came from Australian Patchwork and Quilting, volume 16 number 6, February 2008.) I totally fell in love with the design and, as the only previous patchwork I'd done involved sewing hexagons together, I innocently felt ready to tackle this next!! 


The clue is in the name of the quilt pattern - Insanity, and it really is... The one in the magazine article I think featured 10,000 hexagons. However, I managed to create a more modest design and, when finished, mine will have just 1333 hexagons, each one prepared and then sewn together by hand.


Over three years later, and having made roughly twenty other quilts in the meantime LOL, Insanity is not doing too badly. I've moved on from the final photo, and two sides are now complete. What I hadn't anticipated was how heavy it would become, I found that stitches were coming undone through the sheer weight of fabric. Subsequently I've taken out some of the backing papers, especially as I've reused them several times over. Would I have started this project if I'd known how insane it was? Honestly I'm not sure that I would have done, but at that stage I didn't realise just how much patchwork could be done by machine. Once it's finished it will have to be quilted professionally as I want to make sure it is stippled over every single hexagon, I'm not taking any chances of it falling apart in my lifetime!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Liberty quilt

When I was a child my maternal grandmother was very inspirational, always sewing, knitting, making something. She patiently taught me enough to get my Brownie knitting badge (!) and carried on with cross-stitch until she died. She even learnt to make lace with a set of bobbins over a lace cushion. I would love to have her lace bobbins, but I do have her sewing machine which she passed on to me when I graduated from university. It was about that time that I wandered into Liberty's in York and bought six metres, one metre of each design, of this beautiful fabric. I can still remember that it cost around £50, which was a huge amount for a student to spend on fabric seventeen years ago...
Rashly, I set out to make a Bethlehem Star quilt, with no knowledge of what was involved! I'd sewn a few hexagons together, but that was all. I ploughed on and made 6 large stars, but sadly they didn't join well in the middle and have never progressed into a quilt.
Fortunately there was still plenty of fabric left, and about 4 years ago a friend and I signed up for a beginners' course at the Bramble Patch. The result was this quilt, which I am still so pleased with. I had it professionally quilted, and it has been through the wash several times now.



Thursday, 3 November 2011

Baby quilts...



Baby quilts are a dilemma, as it's hard to know if they'll fit in alright with the baby's bedroom. These are the only three I've made, all very similar! I tried to keep them fairly neutral, and in a style where they can always be a sofa throw.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The American loot...

Over the Easter holidays we had the most amazing trip around California, an incredible time on so many levels. We saw outstanding creation and nature along the beautiful coastline and in the stunning Yosemite natural park. We also had a fabulous couple of days at Disney, and spent the Easter weekend with friends near San Francisco. 
Thanks to the internet, I had googled quilt shops in California before we set off, and managed to visit 3 or 4 fantastic shops, spending a year's worth of fabric budget...
Since coming home, I have so far made a wall hanging for the stairwell. This was inspired by a quilt I saw hanging up in the quilt shop in Los Gatos, and made partly with some fabric from there, and some I already had. The main fabric designer was Amy Butler.
 

The next project was a Bear Paw quilt, as a souvenir of the beautiful Yosemite... where we didn't see any bears, but didn't mind too much!! The fabric came from the quilt shop in Oakhurst, as did the bear template. This was a birthday present for my lovely daughter, and currently alternates with the two quilts made for her previously.

Hi!

For the last three years I have really enjoyed reading other people's sewing blogs. I've seen great ideas, and gained much inspiration. Sometimes I've copied patterns that were freely published, and other times had a push in the right direction. I'm not sure the world needs another patchwork blog, but I'm aware that some bloggers want to know who their readers are and what they are making. So this is an attempt at redressing the balance, and showing some of my creations.