Sunday 19 April 2015

Blocks, blocks, blocks.

I thought March was busy but April has proved to be pretty hectic too, mainly to do with home improvements but thankfully the workmen have now all departed and there is just the cleaning still to be done as the dust settles.......oh joy!

Despite the mayhem I did manage a couple of sewing sessions and am thrilled to have finished the first Bee a Brit Stingy row, for Lucy. Her plan is a quilt for her wee boy which will look like a forest, she asked for Flying Geese and I came up with this. It measures 12.5 x 48.5. I do enjoy foundation piecing but oh, not the ripping out of the paper..............

One of my planned workshops for next year is called Going Large. On the day we will construct a block, a big one, like this - this measures 24" (finished). My aim is for students to use it as a jumping off point to explore other big block options with a view to making nine of them, enough really for a double quilt. This year my students made their quilts using QAYG techniques and using this new skill on these blocks would be a doddle.

My own intention is to slowly work through my scraps & stash making blocks as the fancy takes me. I think for a link I will use white in every block.This next one won't be universally liked but I made it for several reasons.
Say hello to my Big Granny.

This will not appeal on several fronts - the use of BROWN, the inclusion of batik fabric etc.
But here's the thing - I have boxes of precut scraps from last summer when I went through my organisational period (!!) The granny patches were 4.75" square so I pulled ready cut charms from these boxes. I don't have many batiks left, I don't hate batiks like mostly everyone in blogland, but, I do think they are tricky to marry with other fabrics. The other obvious fabrics in this big block are the Aboriginal prints. Now these bring back my wonderful holiday to Oz in 2012 where despite our best attempts, my friend and I were unable to find any Aboriginal fabric. Despite our not brilliant attempts, we were also unable to make contact with blog pal, Salley. On our return to the UK a package arrived from Salley containing the above fabrics. One of the things I love about quilting is looking back and enjoying the memories that different fabrics evoke. So for the above block, not even in a quilt yet, I will always think of my UK pal and my Aussie pal, all of us Grannies, and smile.
And to make you smile, here is a gratuitous pic of my lodger cat, Colin. He has learned to appreciate quilts in a very short time.

Thursday 2 April 2015

Open Day 2015

So despite rain, hailstones and computer problems, the Open Day happened, it was a great day and for those of you unable to come along or those blog followers who live far away, here is my annual slideshow. Fortunately, I managed to photograph many of the quilts prior to Sunday which was just as well as despite making sure that my camera battery was well charged, my memory card filled up rather quickly!!

Edit - when you hover over the play button, the big P for Pinterest appears, click just outside the P to be taken to the slideshow!

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In excess of 100 lovely people braved the foul weather to come and see this year's quilts. 30 of our "Modern Samplers" were on display - I really think my students have excelled themselves this year, the standard of work was just so high.
The Viewers' Choice this year was a lovely quilt made by Ann MacNeill - what viewers didn't realise was that Ann has actually made two identical quilts for a pair of single beds. You will have seen one the slideshow, Ann quilted her quilt using a twin needle and I suspect this tipped everyone's vote - it looked stunning. This year I asked my ladies to give me a maker's statement and this added an extra point of interest. Here is what Ann said on hers -

This quilt was inspired by the material which a friend of mine presented me with on her return from a holiday in the USA.
This made me think of American blocks such as Bears Paw, Underground Railroad and Crossroads. I thought the material and these blocks would go well together. With a few other blocks here is the result.

So, interestingly, the most popular quilt leaned towards the traditional and another that wasn't too far behind was the Underground Railroad sampler, by Amanda, a beauty, made with Downton Abbey fabrics.

The main feature of my course was for the blocks to be floated on a bigger than usual expanse of background fabric which I think leads to a more contemporary look, and of course all but two students used quilt as you go to assemble three or four quilted panels into one quilt. The two student rebels chose to hand quilt
As usual, we had our Bring and Buy Stall selling donated books, quilting magazines and this year, several large donations of fabric - sales from all of this plus teas & coffees gave us a grand total of £630 which today, I have handed over to Ayrshire Carers.

All that's left for me to say is a huge THANK YOU to all my students for continuing to support my classes, and to my lovely volunteers who helped organise and make Sunday such a successful day.


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