Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Story of a Quilt - Ripples in the Sand

This quilt has been in the making for quite some time. The fabrics arrived in stock in my quilt shop in July 2017. I even started making the quilt that same month and had the finished quilt top on display on my stand at the Festival of Quilts last year.

But for some reason, I didn't get around to quilting it. Until a couple of months ago.

I think the impetus to finish came about because I decided to use it as a filler project for the magazine. And I'm so glad I have finished it as I love it. I haven't quilted it as densely as I usually do, with the result that it's a lot softer and snugglier than some of my other recent quilts. A lesson to self there maybe? It's still quilted enough to create dimension and interest though.

The fabrics are from a collection called Sand in my Shoes designed by McKenna Ryan for Robert Kaufman. I love how they seem to blend with each other so I wanted to create a block that would reflect that and allow the colours to flow.

A mixture of different sized HSTs and I had the design I wanted. Something fairly simple but looked a lot more interesting once the fabrics played their part, which is my raison d'etre when it comes to designing quilts for my shop.

Mirror image blocks in alternate rows helped create that flow.

I like to use most of the fabrics from a collection if I can as hopefully that will mean they sell more evenly so this quilt used 17 of the 27 fabrics in the collection. The ones I didn't use were the ombres and a couple of other scene-type fabrics.
I auditioned several of the ombre prints for the inner border in a post you can read about here, and plumped for the bright green ombre which is the Meadow colour.

To echo the flow of the quilt, I quilted it in freehand wavy parallel lines, like ripples in the water. This may end up being the last quilt I quilt on my trusty old New Home Janome. It's served me well over the years, but thanks to a recent big birthday, I've upgraded to a Janome Atelier 3 which has a much bigger throat.

I backed the quilt with one of the fabrics from the collection. Quilting thread was King Tut #905, Baby Blankets and the wadding, Hobbs Heirloom 80/20. The binding is the same green (Meadow) ombre used in the inner border.

The quilt was featured in the April 2018 issue of P&Q.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Story of a Quilt - Chroma

Chroma is the latest collection of handcrafted batiks designed by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. I often see fabric collections online and slowly fall in love with them. Such was the case with Chroma.

It was quite a slow burn in fact and the quilt I've loved the most that Alison designed with the fabrics was a simple one of squares joined together.

I finally took the plunge and ordered the whole collection, all 27 bolts! They're listed in my online shop.

I felt that a quilt made from this collection needed to use most, if not all, of them so I decided to make a really quick quilt which used all but one of them. I also felt the fabrics needed to be able to speak for themselves so decided on a large-scale HST quilt harking back to that favourite Alison Glass design. I would have made the quilt in a matter of days if it weren't for feline helpers!

Helping with the layout

Helping press the backing

Double trouble helping with the quilting

I'm really happy with the finished quilt; it's got a lovely glow about it. The finished size is 63" square. The HSTs are 9" square. I backed it with an AG Sunprint I had on the shelves and quilted it using King Tut 918, Joseph's Coat. The wadding is Hobbs Heirloom 80/20.

The quilt will appear as a project in the February 2018 issue of P&Q. It's my current favourite quilt, of course!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 - A Review in Quilts

So, as the year draws to a close, did I stick to those New Year's Resolutions?

When you set yourself goals in a specific area, such as your hobby, it's probably easier to stick to them. So taking a quick peak at my review of 2016 (which you can read here), it looks like my aim as usual was to be more prolific and make more quilts. I feel like I have been more productive this year but looking back to last year, I've completed the same number of quilts (five) which is funny! Although all of these quilts have been made for the magazine when a deadline is a keen incentive to finish something on time! If you scroll back through my posts you can read my 'Story of a Quilt' series of posts where I've written about each quilt as I've finished it.

My last finish of the year is this quick pieced quilt using the Chroma collection of fabrics from Alison Glass.

Chroma Quilt

I think my main goal from a year ago was to do more quilting for me and that's the main area I have fallen down. I don't think I have even touched my long term projects of Tula Pink's City Sampler, or my Splendid Sampler blocks. I might have done a little bit of sewing on my Sylvia's Bridal Sampler quilt which is a hand sewing project and I think I got my longest WIP out once a month or so ago when I did a bit of hand quilting one evening.

I participated in a hexie sewalong this year making one, yes just one, hexagon a day for 100 days and believe it or not I managed not to stay completely up to date with this! Although I did finish all 100 hexies and have been sewing them into flowers as I go. I used fabrics dyed by Heidi Stoll Weber and have just started making a scrappy low volume background to applique them onto. I'd really like to make progress  on that over the winter.

A pile o' hexies

I'm going to be 50 next year which is a scary prospect. It suddenly feels like half my life is over and yet you feel the same inside as you did twenty, thirty years ago. I think I need to make it my main New Year's resolution for 2018 to finish my longest WIP which is a kaleidoscope-style quilt inspired by the work of Paula Nadelstern. I think I probably started it over a decade ago having been inspired by an annual quilt competition at the Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky 'New Quilts from Old Favourites'. Whichever year was the year for using the Kaleidoscope block was probably the year I started this quilt! I think it would be fitting if I managed to finish this quilt during my 50th year, don't you?

Check back with me in a year's time to see if I managed it!


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Story of a Quilt - Magnolia Metallics

This is another quilt I've been busy working on for the magazine. The fabrics were very kindly donated by Winbourne Fabrics who are the UK distributors for Moda. The collection is called Magnolia Metallics and is a classic Christmas-style collection, but not overly so.

Magnolia Metallics aka Cactus Flower Quilt

Designing a quilt using a Layer Cake or Jelly Roll is always an extra challenge as you usually need to tweak any designs to suit cutting the finite amount of fabric that you have. With this block I needed to use half square triangles to create the 'spikes' of the flower instead of a Flying Geese unit as there wasn't quite enough fabric to do this with the 10" squares.

I made a test block for this quilt as I couldn't afford to make any mistakes.

I finally found the time to get piecing. It was a struggle to get going for a bit and I had to delay the project going in the mag by an issue. I think I also didn't twig how big it was going to get! Forty two, 12" blocks makes for a big quilt! The finished size of the quilt is 76" x 88".

Image credit Sharon Cooper Photography

The additional fabrics in the quilt were three fabrics from Moda's awesome Grunge range and a couple of prints from the Magnolia Metallics collection for the Four Patch units.

I used Hobbs 80/20 wadding and backed the quilt with the Cream Grunge. It took me a little while to decide how best to quilt it. I find it hard to even think about doing an all-over pattern so I settled for my usual wiggle using King Tut thread no. 936 which is called Pharoah's Treasures. It was an ideal match as it's red, green and gold. The binding was the green holly print used in the Four Patch units.

The great thing about this design is that it lends itself to be made with any Layer Cake so the pattern I'll be selling of it is called Cactus Flower.

The quilt will be appearing in the November 2017 issue of British Patchwork & Quilting magazine which is out on 20 October 2017.


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Story of a Quilt - Blue Sky over Ohio

I thought it was about time I started making proper 'journal' type records of my quilts as I finish them. I used to keep a paper record with the date a quilt was finished, it's size together with a photo of the quilt. Sometimes I'd stick scraps of the fabrics used in the quilt too.

Of course, this fell by the wayside a long LONG time ago!

And really this blog was supposed to be a digital record of my quilt making, amongst other things.

So, here goes. A new set of blog posts titled 'Story of a Quilt'. And first up is Blue Sky over Ohio.

A lot of my quilt designs evolve as I make them. I was sent these Blue Sky fabrics from Makower so I could make a project for the magazine. I originally intended to create a shaded basket weave type design with the prints, and arranged them in a shaded order.

However, I saw a strippy design online and decided on a rethink.

I can't quite remember how I fell upon the Ohio Star block as the block to use; I think it was because it was a traditional block that we hadn't featured for a while. It also happens to be one of my favourite blocks.

I figured I could still create a shaded effect with the blocks by using the lighter fabrics at the centre, shading outwards towards the darker fabrics.

And so the design was born. The blocks are 6" square and are machine pieced using quick piecing quarter square triangle units for the star shapes.

The quilt was made bigger by alternating the blocks with 6" squares, still following the shaded effect.

The background of the quilt was machine quilted for speed in a stipple pattern leaving the stars to 'pop'. If I'd had more time and was hand quilting it, I would have quilted it differently. The thread was King Tut quilting thread Brooklet (951). Wadding is Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 and the backing was Duck Egg Linea from Makower. The edges were bound with strips cut from the cream star fabrics.

Finished size: 66" square

And I have to say, I'm pretty please with it!

Friday, 21 April 2017


Looking through my Instagram account and the lack of a blog post, you'd think I hadn't been doing any quilt making in recent months! Very few images of quilts or WIP have been posted. Really not sure why as I have been piecing and quilting most days. It's possibly because the quilts I've finished so far this year have been for the magazine.
First up was a quick little quilt featuring some fabrics from Makower and the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

It's not my usual thing by any means but it was fun to make and use ideas I'd picked up elsewhere.

The next finish was another quilt for the mag, Galaxy Stars. This used another collection from Makower. They've been kind enough to supply the fabrics so I can make the quilts but I've also ordered them so I can sell kits.

Another fairly easy and quick quilt to make. I ran out of time and would have liked to have done a bit more quilting on it, but magazine deadlines wait for no man!

I've been working on a couple of other design ideas too, one using the V&Co ombres that I love. I've had to put this to one side for the time being as I'm working on another project for the magazine using the Blue Sky collection of fabrics from Makower.

So not exactly missing in action but doing stuff that I can't show for a time!


Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Promotion of Me?

Just a little musing....

Self promotion and being a success. Why are some people better at it and get a lot of recognition? Is it just about who can shout about themselves the longest and loudest?

Where does being a shy introvert fit into promoting yourself?

I often see people getting recognition and feel, but I can design better quilts than that. Is it just because they have the confidence to go out there and shout about themselves? When you are shy and introverted, you try and shout about yourself, but no one seems to hear or listen. Is an introvert's shout just a loud whisper?

I know I design great quilts. I know I have the talent. But what I lack is the confidence to shout about myself loud enough for others to hear. Maybe my New Year's resolution should be to learn to shout about myself a little bit louder?