Sunday, 29 January 2012

First finished quilt of 2012 ... yay!!

I am sooooooooooo thrilled with this lap-quilt I have made for my cousin in Maryland, USA. Remember all the fabrics I brought back from our trip to USA in September? Well, this is the first of five quilts I'm aiming to make from that lovely stash which belonged to my Nen's sister.

I knew whose quilt I wanted to start with and blues and greens and browns were the colours I went for for this special cousin. I was very lucky that I selected exactly the right amount and variety of colours quite quickly and then I brought them out of the loft and washed each piece by hand and dried and ironed them before starting cutting. I went for an easy 1/2 log cabin and 4 square to show off the different patterns (all labelled VIP Cranston Fabrics) and made 36 x 8" blocks and 100 x 2 1/2" squares for the border.

As I was sewing, the sentimentalist in me could not but think of what my Great Aunt would make of my 'modern' quilting.

Did she hand sew only? (I believe so.)

Did she follow patterns or make it up as she went along (A bit of both?)

And would she have used a rotary cutter? (Unlikely.)

Would she have approved of my work with her fabrics? (I hope so.)

I brought the quilt downstairs this evening and completed (in about 3 hours - give or take) the only bit of hand sewing I do - attaching the back of the binding (cut 2 1/4" width strips then folded) ... I really really LOVE this part of quilt making ;)

I also really enjoy making the mitred corners (I know ... I need to get out more!):

And here is the finished article. Measuring 52" by 52" and using only the material from my Great Aunt's stash:

Oh dear, not a good idea to photograph on the floor when Madam is around:

Thanks m'dear:

And a close up so you can see the colours:

And the very 'patchy' back - there were only a few larger pieces left and I was a bit worried when I first started making the back that it wouldn't work but I'm happy with the end result. Free motion quilted with cream cotton in a meandering effect - some 'odd' shapes occasionally but I don't claim to be brilliant at this part of quilting AT ALL! But boyoboy, do I enjoy it:

Enjoy dear cousin, hope it keeps you nice and warm. I feel very emotional about letting it go (fingers crossed it'll be safe in the post) but I love the fact you will be getting a 'quilting cuddle' from your Mom every time you put this on your lap xx

One more cushion ...

I heard some sad news today - my brother-in-law's Mum has taken a bit of a turn for the worse so I pushed making her cushion to the top of the list of things to do so I can post it to her tomorrow.

When I asked her at Christmas, what colours she favoured, she said pink and dogs! The Jack Russell fabric is very cute (thanks to eBay seller for quickly posting) and the pinks, spots and brown I had in my stash. I did a wavy line across the seams and on the diagonal rather than the usual meandering. I need to practice some different free motion quilting but am pleased with the effect:

Stitched with love, please get well soon, Janet x

Friday, 27 January 2012


They're such a quick fix - I love the whole process: designing, choosing the fabric, ironing, cutting, piecing, quilting (the top), making the back and putting it all together and it only takes a couple of hours ... what bliss ;)

My latest 'masterpiece' is for my lovely sister (in-law): I made her some cushions two years ago for her birthday but I noticed at Christmas one was looking very sun-faded so, using the Cath Kidston fabric she bought me a while back, I've made her this cushion cover (18") and will pop it in the post tomorrow:

a close-up of the wavy line free motion quilting:

and the back. I was a bit worried when I had to 'patch' it because of the age-old problem of only having a fat quarter of each fabric. But I like how it turned out, gives it a bit more interest, I think:

Hope you like it, sis x

Nosey Nell ... naughty Nell??!!

She followed me into the loft after I got home from work - she's very curious and I wonder if it's because we were away for a week (skiing ... was it really only this time last week ;( ??) or is she just being nosey?

And then, her highness decides to not just sit:

but HAVE A WASH on my 'waiting to be pieced' quilt ... what can I say?

"What, Mummy ... exactly WHAT is your problem? You know you love me and I can do no wrong:

That's the truth ... I dooooooooo love her x

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

2012 ... things to do!

It was a successful ski trip ... phew ;) Avoriaz was brilliant and a wonderful resort for beginners and those skiing for the first time after a broken ankle and we (nearly) all had a very safe holiday:After four days of gorgeous sunshine, the fresh snow began to fall ... and fall ... and fall! It was breathtakingly beautiful:

Before I went, I made Mutter a mobile phone 'neck pouch' (out of some scraps left over from her Christmas Quilt) - so that when I called her from France to see how she (and Nell!) were doing, she would have her mobile phone close by at all times:And whilst in France, I found this hiding in a little resort shop. Amazing that you can be all the way up there in the mountains and STILL find a quilting magazine! Dear husband,"But it's all in French!" Me: "Soooooooo ... I can still look at the pictures!"

I REALLY REALLY enjoyed skiing but I did miss my sewing! So, here is my list of the things I want to do over the next few weeks:

1) Finish the binding on USA Quilt #1 and post to my cousin in Maryland

2) Finish piecing USA Quilt #2, make the backing, baste, quilt, bind and send it to another cousin

3) Make a 'pink and dogs' cushion for my brother-in-law's Mum (I was going to make it as a little thank you for our yummy Christmas cake but now she's not well, I have two reasons to get this made.) Have to go fabric shopping on eBay ... dogs are tricky - cats are much easier to find!

4) Make a replacement conservatory Cath Kidston cushion for my sis (in law) as the sun has faded the one I made her last year (started yesterday!)

5) Make some things (cushion, Pants Bag, Mobile phone neck pouch??) for my friend who's having a church fundraising day in February

6) Book another friend in for a birthday sewing day and we'll make her a cushion together

Enough to be getting on with methinks ... for now!!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

2012's first post ... and I'm away for a week!

So I'm all up to date - two years of quilting condensed into 10 posts on my new blog and there'll be no quilting (and probably no blogging) until I get back from this year's ski trip - fingers and everything else crossed, please, that I don't extend my stay en France this year!!

Au revoir, mes amis - à bientôt ;)

Christmas Gifts - the last 2011 'catch-up' post

It started with a simple request (at the end of October) from the Mum of our god-daughters, if I was looking at ideas for Christmas presents, "A cushion cover would be a great present for them," and I was off - out of the starting blocks and creating. The rest of this post is all the lovely things I made in November and December.

I never just give cushion covers so first stop was eBay for two 22" duck feather cushions (I usually use 18" but was going for a bigger look this time). I wanted them to be similar but different (if you know what I mean) - there's only two years age difference and as soon as I picked out the fabrics, I knew I'd have to make Pants Bags to match as well!
Then there was a quilt for my Mum (Mutter) - we had picked all the red and green fabrics on a visit home earlier in the year. If you ever met my dear Mutter, you would think, "she has a big heart," so there was my inspiration:
And she had to have a cushion too! That's what scraps are for ... I put binding on this one - very pretty and made the cushion feel rather sumptious. The front of my cushions are 'mini quilts' - pieced, batting, calico backing and quilted - it finishes them off nicely:
Then a Pants Bag for my little niece to match her quilt:
And a cushion for my friend to match her cat quilt (just enough scraps left):

And a cushion for my nephew to match his quilt:
And a Pant's Bag for my cousin's wife (filled with smellies):
And one for my brother's girlfriend (also filled with smellies):
And one for my friend at work's grand-daughter:
And a cushion and two Pants Bags for the Church raffle:

And a cushion for my friend's daughter at work:

Then I GOT PAID!!! Two friends asked if I would make cushions for them to give as Christmas presents - oh my ... no pressure!! So I made these - the first two were for my friend's neices, she chose the fabrics and I chose the designs and the last one is very similar to the 9-patch church raffle cushion (see above) that my friend's friend won and was so thrilled with it my friend thought it would be a nice surprise to have me make another (similar) one too:

And finally, remember the quilt I made for Mum's birthday that sat on the back of settee all year because it was 'too nice to use'? I made Mum (in-law) another lapquilt and called it, "Use Me" and I'm pleased to report that it is getting used!!! She told dear husband yesterday on the phone that she was 'wrapped up in it because that's what it was meant for' ... yay!!

The back - just as lovely
PHEW!!! I enjoyed making every single item - and seeing the recipients' faces - everyone was thrilled (I think!) with their gifts. All created in the evenings after work and at weekends ... not much ironing got done, I can tell you!!

All in all a wonderful end to the year. I learnt lots of new things and can now free motion quilt (meander/stipple) quite confidently and put 'proper'lining in Pants Bags and knock out a cushion in a couple of hours. I am sooooooo looking forward to 2012's projects, adventures and challenges ... I AM a lucky girl, my dear husband is so very supportive and I am very thankful that I get to make such lovely things ;)

USA September 2011

We had a wonderful holiday (we always do) with our dear family again this year in Chesapeake Beach, MD - our 10th wedding anniversary - and they took us to Charleston for a holiday within a holiday ... we are such lucky people. Of course, I found a quilt shop:
and I bought lots of fabby fabric. I had the shop almost to myself (the rest of the family didn't shop with me - the boys went off to see some big boat and the girls went for a coffee!) and the lady in the shop was so very nice to me, talked through some quilting techniques, explained the 'disappearing 9 patch', let me take photos of quilts hanging in the shop ... she was really lovely.

And when we got back to Maryland, thanks to another dear cousin (who is a quilter too and a new Grandma - and what a cute grandson x) I had time to pop and shop in here too (huge shop, well huge compared to UK standards, in Annapolis):

I have only used two USA-bought fat quarters since then but the rest is waiting to be used in a special project - at both shops, I went for pinks (of course!) and the older dusky pink/red tones so I may even use it to make a Farmer's Wife Quilt for myself ... watch this space ;)

But the best fabric I acquired I didn't have to spend a penny on. Towards the end of our stay, my dear cousin brought out from the garage a big old packing box of fabric that had belonged to her Mom (my Nen's sister), asking if I'd like any of it ... any of it? ANY of it??? ALL OF IT, THANK YOU!!! So, a hasty online payment to the airline for another suitcase later and a bit of jigging about with the packing meant all of this loveliness left Chesapeake Beach and came to London with meeeeeeeeee:
Thank goodness for spacesaver bags!
Stash collecting is obviously genetic!!
All folded (actually could't get it all in one photo!)
and it's in such good condition considering it's been in a box for over 20 years ;)

Quote from dear husband, "Cos it's not like you didn't have enough already!"

Friday, 13 January 2012

Nell ...
Poor little rescue cat - I said on my first post you don't get to see that much of her but, on going through my photos over the past two years, actually, she joins me in the loft quite regularly. I think she is a secret quilting fan and likes to help her Mummy out as much as she can:
Guarding the scraps basket ...
hmmm ... guess that would be just being unconscious!
Helping Mummy look at clever USA Ladies' Quilting Blogs
Testing the batting/wadding ...
Daddy might not have made this fat quarter ironing board
exclusively for Mummy's use, hey?!
I'm trying to help ... seriously, Mummy!
Don't you realise how busy I am??
Bless x