Friday, 17 February 2017

Deadline Smashed

Many moons ago I made this cushion for my son and his girlfriend when they were living apartment life in city centre Glasgow. I made it with a mix of Japanese textured cottons and Sweetwater's Road 15, one of my all time favourite ranges. The cushion fitted well with their modern style and I hatched a secret plan that this Road 15 print would be the basis of a future quilt..........perhaps a wedding quilt?? Who knew?
I had all but given up buying fabric from overseas and stuck to our LQS Kaleidoscope where I knew there was a good stock of this precious fabric. I also know that once a Moda line is gone, it's gone. So I invested in 6m of that particular vanilla print and stashed it away.

A happy engagement was announced back in May 2015 and I was then able to legitimately start planning a quilt. I had long planned something quite complex that involved a specialist ruler that had also been bought and stashed. But you know what - I decided that this couple would not necessarily be into complex patchwork. Their style is quite minimal with little frivolous touches. So I chose simple. I also decided that I wanted to Quilt As You Go and so designed something that lent itself to this. Instead of selecting more prints from the Road 15 line, I selected several single metre cuts from Jennifer Sampou's first Shimmer line - these are gorgeous, quite understated fabrics with just a wee bit of metallic interest in them. So all of these had been chosen for my original plan but I managed to incorporate them into my new simple plan. Another little hammer was thrown into the works.
The happy couple moved to the suburbs last Spring, and treated themselves to a new bed - and yes, you guessed it -super king - I groaned!! Definitely QAYG!!!
This was my final plan on EQ7, it almost seems too simple to have been planned but I did consider lots of options like big blocks, blocks with snowball type corners etc but opted for this.

So I made a start on it last year and have taken things pretty slowly. I made the Shimmer blocks first, eight, 18" blocks made up of 6" patches. Panels of Road 15 above and below these blocks plus a centre block made up a centre "quilt" that measures 54" x 94". The outer panels were just big pieces of Road 15 that had to be layered up and quilted bringing the full quilt up to a nice square 94".

I did straight line quilting, lots of it. The outer panels nearly felled me when I discovered slipped stitches and just knew this was the fault of having spray basted the long sections together. I didn't unpick, I just oversewed, reckon nobody will ever know, unless they read this, lol. I had quite a bit of fabric left when considering how to back this giant - I looked at Kaleidoscope again - they actually still have some Road 15 left in stock and Susan there was so very helpful. In the end I bought another Sweetwater in vanilla and some in black with a tiny white spot, to bind. And so I have, with careful placement, created a reversible quilt. I have machine embroidered a label in very subtle colours but won't show this here as it's a bit personal.

As far as QAYG goes, I reckon those of you unfamiliar with the technique would be hard pushed to spot where this has been done. For those of you who do use the technique, and especially ladies from my former classes - you might be interested to learn that when I folded the folded edge over to the right side, I used the machine blanket stitch to secure instead of straight stitching it down. I found this avoided the rather hard edge that I usually produce at this stage.

And lest you think I am sounding a little conceited, let me tell you about my binding. I bought black with a tiny white spot, made up yards and yards of binding. Then I decided the white looked.....too white. So I dipped the lot in a solution of cold tea, dried it, ironed it again and started, again, to sew it to the quilt. Not for the first time in my quilting life, I turned the last corner..... I had to cut more, dye more, dry more, add it to the rest, with a 94" square quilt still attached.................

and all was well, finally. 

The wedding isn't until July so as the title of this post suggests, I reckon that is a deadline smashed.

Have a great weekend..

PS (Thanks to my quilting pals for holding this monster up yesterday for the photo shoot!!)

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Multi Use Mega Pinnie

Forgive me for pulling out the old Mega Pinnie, many of you will have one or have made one. It was something I taught a lot in classes and have gone on to offer for sale as a pattern.

When I taught, it used to give me such a kick to see all the different versions emerge as fabric choices gave each one a look of its own.

Here are some I made -

These two were by Lilian & Jenny.

And this one was Pat's.

Here is a huddle of them on display at one of our Open Days.

My pattern continues to sell in my Etsy shop and now and again a buyer will enter into correspondence with me, like for example, Becky, who lives in Texas. She really enjoyed making her first Mega Pinnie a few weeks ago and then thought of another use for it so went on to make another one.

All you have to do for this is to check the size of your pockets and just think how many husbands throughout the land could be kept happy forever................
..............but Becky didn't stop there. She is obviously a crafty lady, and went on to make a third version to house her tools for working with clay.

These are such good ideas and of course begin to make the old brain start ticking over with other uses for the Mega Pinnie. So I thought, why don't you leave me a comment with your new and fresh idea for using the MP. I shall read through the comments and choose the one I like best and reward the winner with a free digital copy of the pattern to make their own Mega Pinnie. Just a bit of fun really.
But do try to comment by Monday at 9pm UK time.
Meanwhile, my thanks to Becky for inspiring this blog post.

Monday, 23 January 2017

A Finished Top

So in my last post I might have suggested a finished top to show you and indeed I have such a beast - I give you, my Dog's Dinner.

I finished it about 10 days ago but waited for my lovely friends at my sewing group to assist with a photo. This quilt started life as the Today's Quilter Block of the Month, designed by Jen Kingwell. But, many months into the project it became clear that some of the required block numbers had led us a little astray and I found myself many blocks behind with the stuffing and momentum knocked out of me. That's when I went off piste a little. The centre of the medallion took on a different identity with a large block from my "collection" - it just needed a narrow border added to bring it up to the correct size. It had been pieced from a pile of HSTs given to me by a student many months ago along with some yardage which I decided to add into the remaining blocks that I had to do. The log cabin blocks that hug the corners of the centre panel were unpicked from a very old quilt top that had lingered in a drawer - I mentioned it in this post.
I had four 12" blocks to make for the centre positions on the outer rows and opted for simple nine patches. Almost as soon as I had cut and pieced them I wished I had cut the pieces just a little bigger and made them into Disappearing Nine Patch but that ship had sailed.
All that was left then was to make the four outer corner blocks and I knew I had planned to use Jo's Maple Leaf variation from her BOM currently running in Today's Quilter. I like the way they point outwards from each corner. The finished top measures 72" square.
I set out to make this a scrappy quilt using only fabric from my stash and this is exactly what I have done.
Despite my recent ramblings and reservations, I don't hate it, not sure if I love it. I think it might have cured me of scrappy. I enjoyed much of the process and am pleased to have completed it.
Not sure when it will transform properly into a quilt - I have just finished quilting and joining a 94" square monster and have been heard to mutter things like "I don't know if I have many more quilts left in me" but never say never eh?
Meanwhile, it's name - I shall free it from the shackles of Dog's it's my first finish of 2017, I realise it is 19 years since I took up this craft so 19 it is. If it's good enough for Adele, it's good enough for me.

Have a good week folks.

PS. Lots of nice neutral Aurifil in stock

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Happy New Year

I last posted just before the Christmas madness overtook us and here I am, as if by magic, in the quiet aftermath.
Isn't it funny how we get caught up in the crazy supermarket frenzy, made worse somehow by the New Year holiday being so close to Christmas. Those of you, of a certain age, (coughs delicately) and living here, North of the border in Scotland, will recall the days when all the shops closed at New Year for THREE DAYS at least! I'm talking food shops. This instilled in us a siege mentality that weirdly still exists today, despite the fact that I discovered that supermarkets this year would be open throughout New Year, no holiday at all. I still sneaked an extra loaf into my trolley, just in case.

I had no turkey responsibilities this year so things were quite quiet Chez Bluepatch. I had extra encouragement to help me sew in the shape of a new sewing table. A kind friend tipped me off about a sturdy looking possibility in a local charity shop and I had a look, liked it, and it was delivered on 22nd December. My old table had become quite wobbly and this one is really solid, a little longer and wider so it just gives me more options for working.

I wasted no time getting to work on some sewing and spent a particularly pleasant morning a couple of days before Christmas.

Some of you may recall my Dog's Dinner BOM - what you see above is the dry run for the four outer corner blocks. Since this session I have almost managed to sew the blocks together, but not quite. Before long, I should have a Dog's Dinner quilt top to you can't wait.

Since New Year I have been making progress with a very important commission piece - I recently discovered Little Cotton Rabbits , a site with the most delightful knitted rabbits, teddies etc. I really wanted to have a go and offered to make one for my Grand daughter, warning her that it would take Grandma a long time. I gave her the choice of patterns and my heart sunk a little when she opted for the monkey, I thought it looked a bit tricky. I always claim to be a rubbish knitter, it's just not my first love, or my forte. But with this excellent pattern which is so explanatory and helpful, I did it.

She's actually quite tiny, and her accelerated progress caused great excitement, reaching its peak today after nursery. We have decided that Millie is a nice name for a monkey.

So, that is my first finish of the year, my next has to be the big wedding quilt, much done, not a lot to do.

In Aurifil news I am exploring the idea of concentrating my online sales on our favourite neutral shades.
For those of you attending Amanda's classes I will be popping in this week and next with my wee pop up shop and some fresh stock, so hope to see you there.

I'll leave you with an image of this beautiful Christmas gift I received from a kind friend from Down Under................

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Festive Greetings

I doubt there will be many more posts before the year end so I shall take this opportunity to post before everything gets out of hand in the last minute madness that is Christmas.
In previous years we bloggers used to post monthly round ups of our work and then perhaps an annual edition. These things seem to have lapsed, and recently on Instagram I have been seeing "my favourite nine" appearing on many feeds.

Well I have made a bit of a montage of a few of my moments of 2016. Not all the makes are mine.

You will see work done by some of my final classes before I retired in March, an image of the quilts made by my classes for Siblings Together, cushions and gifts made for and received from blog friends here and Mega Pinnie that made it into print (my 15 minutes of fame), my foray into a little chair current Bee project.

Centre stage goes to my wee grand daughter and little Beth.

My best wishes to you all.xx

Monday, 14 November 2016

Moving Forward

Gosh, more than a month since my last post, where to begin...........?

SO the Dog's Dinner has been taken down from the design wall and put to one side - I will return to it, I promise but not this year.

I have made good progress on The Wedding Quilt, as it has become known, and have quilted the biggest, central section but the outer sections have also been laid to one side as I have started to pay attention to Christmas sewing.

My sewing room/ spare bedroom has been frightened by a surge of energy not equalled in a very long time and I have purged my books and my Accuquilt so far. Twelve years of classes allowed me to amass a great many things that I will not necessarily continue to use, so I am thinning out a bit, and it feels good.

There has been great sadness this month that I am going to share as many of my former students will wish to know that little Beth passed away at the beginning of the month. It was Beth's story that inspired our fundraising in April for our very last Open Day and she defied all the medics by surviving two months beyond her fourth birthday. She was a wee girl with a big heart and lots of spirit.

During her palliative care, a new charity (MEMORIES ARE BETTER THAN DREAMS) was set up by a doctor and nurse within Ayrshire & Arran NHS, a charity that helps families of terminally ill children - this help can be in very small ways, it can be help to buy a headstone, practical help for a single parent, it is a fledgling charity that won Charity of the Year locally and Team Beth will continue to fundraise to support its work.

And with impeccable timing I had a wee light bulb moment over the weekend.

Our local Ayrshire Quilters' Quilt Exhibition came to an end yesterday and today I picked up my exhibits - I had considered offering them for sale during the exhibition, but in the end baulked at the high commission charge.
So I thought maybe it was meant to be - instead I would try to sell them now and pledge a share to go to this new charity, and that is just what I'll do. So I shall list them here and on FB. I have decided not to put them on to my online shop as I'll try to keep costs down and avoid commission along the way.
So if by any chance there is anyone interested please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

1. This first quilt is a former class sample - it measures 54" x 73", front & back is 100% cotton and the batting is Hobbs 80/20. It currently has a hanging sleeve attached but I can easily remove this if you wish.
I am asking £120 including P&P anywhere and from this I pledge £50 to Memories are Better than Dreams if sold

2.  This next one is a wallhanging - "A Bridge Too Far" my interpretation of the two Forth Bridges for a Loch Lomond Quilt Show challenge. Measuring 24" x 25" it too is made of 100% cotton back & front with Hobbs 80/20 batting. It has penny weights attached to the bottom corners for beautiful hanging quality.
I am asking £40 + P&P (to be decided) with £40 pledged to Memories are better than Dreams if sold.


3. Another wallhanging - this one I called Colours of Oz as it was made following a workshop with the wonderful Gloria Loughman. It measures 20" x 24" is 100% cotton and again I used Hobbs 80/20 batting.
I am asking £30 + P&P (to be confirmed) with £30 pledged to Memories are Better than Dreams  if sold.

4. And lastly, my Rozelle Remembrance piece that features one of the fabulous images of the WW1 wooden carved statues that stand in Rozelle park as a tribute to the WW1 soldiers. Made in 100% cotton in little log cabin blocks, it is mainly machine quilted but also features and area of hand quilting. Batting is Hobbs 80/20. Measures 20"
I am asking £30 + P&P (to be confirmed), with £30 pledged to Memories are Better than Dreams, if sold.

All wall hangings come complete with hanging sleeve or corners for you to pop a dowel into.

Thank you for looking and if none of this is for you maybe you might like to visit the Memories donate page and make your own donation?

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Meals for Animals

I haven't decided yet on a title for my current project - so far, Dog's Dinner and Pig's Breakfast come to mind. I wonder why we think of animal meals when we are a little unhappy with our work.

So, what am I moaning about? Well it's a long and boring tale - I'll try and be brief. I started a BOM back in late 2014 with the launch of Today's Quilter. It was a project designed by Jen Kingwell whose work I greatly admire and I was still heady from finishing (well, finishing the top) of "My Small World".
Jen's designs are perfect for scrap quilts and as with MSW, I found I could lose myself in the choosing and throwing together of scraps, some so old they brought back memories of where they were purchased, which other quilts they had been part of, you know how it goes..........

As the months rolled on, it became obvious that it wasn't an ordinary BOM - indeed some months demanded several blocks and it was at times quite demanding upon time.

Not all blocks were the same size which only added to the intrigue. Month 9 was a struggle - 8 x 12" blocks but I managed these and mentioned it HERE. I did start to struggle a bit and made a start to month 10 but then when month 11 was published there was a bit of a bolt  out of the blue. We had to return to 4 of the 12 blocks we had made in month 2 and add strips to them..............only thing was, I had only made one. So had my friend. I checked the magazine and let's face it, an omission is understandable in such a young magazine. It was enough to scunner me though and I put the whole project on the back burner. I reckoned nobody was holding a gun to my head and I could take my time.
Month 12 came with another 4 blocks to be made and then last month we had the big reveal which was as suspected, a large medallion quilt with 4 month 1 blocks in dead centre Pity I had only made one..........
So I set to, now about 36 blocks short of a quilt, and made the missing three blocks. I think my heart might not have been truly in it although I did go through all the motions. The blocks were made using templates (my most unfavourite technique)) and the finished results with multiple Y seams I think highlight my poor, poor attention to detail when (a) cutting the templates and (b) cutting the fabric. My resulting bowl shaped blocks just will not pass muster and have to go! 

So - should I abandon ship completely? No! I had a look at the instructions for assembly and the centre of the quilt measures 24" finished. Well, I have a few Big Blocks stored from previous workshops - I dug them out and found one that wasn't quite to size.......indeed it wasn't strictly mine but had come to me as a pile of HSTs from a former student, along with a piece of co ordinating fabric. Hmmm. I had, a few months ago, trimmed and squared the HSTs and assembled them into a Big Block and today I added narrow borders to bring it up to 24 1/2".

I looked at the final quilt layout plan to see how many blocks still needed to be done, and was there some way of maybe using up some orphans instead - I dug out my "orphan drawer" and came across a small log cabin quilt top that I must have made, oh, about 15 years ago. I was so eager to unpick it that I didn't take a picture but I have just found the plan for it in my old EQ5 files.

The blocks were 7 1/2" so I unpicked them and resized to 6 1/2". And would you believe it, I need 8, and I had 8. Just goes to show things do come in handy sometimes.
So here is a progress shot of my "Kitchen Sink Drama" -  Despite one or three other irritating issues, I am quite enjoying it again.

Changing the subject, briefly - as those of you who follow my blog know, I have a small online shop. Actually, I have two. One, administered by Eckwid to sell my Aurifil threads and the other is my Etsy shop, which pre-dates the first but I retain it as they deal with the difficulties of VAT and digital selling.
If I was a snazzy, on the ball saleswoman, I might have anticipated that Christmas was around the corner and tried some advance marketing but no, I admit it was a chance sale in my Etsy shop recently, of my Tree Skirt pattern that made me think, "oh yes, that'd be a good thing to offer for Christmas". So I am and it is.


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