Tag Archives: cowboy quilt

Out of Africa

3 Apr

Another one bites the dust.

This one shows ghanian adinkra symbols.

It was made from fat quarters which explains some of the wonkiness. I wouldn’t do it that way now. Far too finnicky and also have a bigger choice of fabric. It was also a very good one on which to practise using the speed control. As I used a higher loft wadding it should  keep me warm on the cold nights when the heating bills get too high. In fact the way I’m going I could just burrow under the pile of now finished quilts and forget the heating althogether. Could this be the latest sustainable energy project. (The old ideas are the best.)

Each symbol has a meaning and they are woven into cloth to create a message for the wearer and maybe also the observer.

Many moons ago I spent some time in Ghana so I feel an affinity. It was the first time I had travelled to Africa and everything was new and interesting. After many years things that once seemed new and exciting become mundane and everyday. The name of my online quilt business is Nsaa which, in the adinkra symbols is a  fabric. Basically the symbol means that something is genuine and of superior quality. It also makes a rather good logo.

If you are interested in what the rest mean click on the link above to take you to a page about them or just Google ‘adinkra’.

This last weekend I took a stall at the Westpoint Spring quilt festival in Exeter. It was great fun although the people who make a living at craft fairs and had to pay for petrol and accommodation were not too pleased. The number of people was definitely down from the couple of times I have visited as a customer and those that were there were not buying much. However, I picked up a few tips on future fair strategy. A lot of the traders do the whole circuit so they know each other and have a bit of a get together as well as selling.

This is what we looked like.

I think I might have less on show next time but it’s all a learning curve.

Now I just have to unpack all the boxes.

Next stop Harrogate in August/September


Put My Horse in There Boy.

22 Jul

Sorry about the title it’s something my Dad used to say when he saw a bow- legged cowboy on a film so I couldn’t resist it in a blog about same.

Not that my cowboys are bow-legged, although the beauty of applique is that you can take a pattern and adapt it. If you want bow-legged cowboys knock yourself out as they say. The photo underneath tells you what I am rambling on about. When I started designing these little fellows I got quite carried away.

It might look as though this is a very complicated pattern but I have tried to make it as simple as possible by supplying full sized templates on which each figure is preformed ready to go onto the background fabric.  See below.

Template for easy placement.

With this system a piece of baking paper, or if you are really organised an applique sheet is placed over the pattern and each piece laid down in its rightful place and ‘tacked’ in place with the point of the iron. When the whole figure is complete it is protected by another piece of baking paper, fused with a quick pass of the iron and left to cool. It is then peeled off the baking paper and you have a completed figure to lay down in the correct place on the background. This stops inadvertent bow-legged cowboys but also allows intended changes to the original figure. My skills in applique are largely self taught and I developed this one out of deperation and a sudden ‘light bulb’ moment.

There was a time when I spent rather a lot of time placing appliques of shoes on shoe bags prior to stitching them They were not whole shoes but lots of little pieces which had to end up as a whole shoe and at the same time in the right place on the bag. I have lost count of the times I had to move all the little pieces to get it right. I am sure I didn’t invent the process but I suddenly realised that I could put them together before placing them with the judicious use of a piece or two of baking paper or greaseproof paper as we call it here in UK  (Not waxed paper). I also discovered a little extra tip the other day when I bought cheap paper as none other was available. If it doesn’t have a nice shiny surface the pieces stick for ever. The same applies if you are dense enough to forget the baking paper and put them straight onto the pattern. Yes I have done that and not only the once either. In my case it didnt matter as I have a printer full of new ones but if you do it on a pattern you have bought it could prove a problem. Having said that, if you ever bought one of my patterns and did this I would happily supply a new sheet. I hate to see people cry and after all I have been there.

The best bit of a pattern like this is that you can add lots of little extras like the sheriff’s badge and the embroidered fringe on the cowboy top right. You can also use different shirt fabrics to give each cowboy an individual character. the possibilities are endless. I particularly enjoyed finding the right stitch for the stitching down the legs of the jeans.

His Jacket is fringed with stitching.

I shot the sheriff but only with my camera

If you would like to see closeups of any of the other cowboys go to nsaaquilting.co.uk or to this link which takes you directly to the page.

I am posting this today as I have entered my quilt in a competition at quiltinggallery.com this weekend and if anybody links from that page they can see the quilt detail better. It is a good site to find quilt blogs if you like reading blogs. I am rather looking forward to going on later to see the quilts entered as the theme is ‘Boys Quilts’ and there don’t seem to be a lot of them around generally so I would like to see what is.

Finally a picture of the pattern content in this particular pattern in case you would like to reproduce it yourself.

The contents of the cowboy pattern. All 9 templates included.

Happy Stitching.

ps. I have just noticed that there are in fact several bow-legged cowboys. Just shows you doesn’t it.

Confessions of a Quiltaholic

8 Jul

I admit it, I like fabric. No, I have to be honest, I love fabric. I also love creating little artworks from tiny bits of fabric (known in the quilting world as ‘The Stash’). It could have something to do with being exiled to faraway countries with little to do , lots of sun and a collection of vibrant coloured scraps and fat quarters. Add to that the need to keep cool and an airconditioned room with a sewing machine and a lot of time and the resulting pile of quilts and wall hangings was inevitable.

At first I made traditional patchwork quilts with the cases full of fat quarters I took back from each leave. Then I went to Papua New Guinea which is very close to Australia. So close that I went several times and had lovely holidays in which quilt shops featured heavily.  There I discovered applique. Not just any applique but bright, happy applique. I discovered Kookaburra Cottage patterns in particular and also Australian quilting magazines. They have so much colour and fun. From then on I was hooked on applique and bright colours and I couldn’t stop.

After a while I started experimenting with my own patterns. I am not particularly good at drawing but I designed some interesting and different quilts and bags. I soon realised that if you are going to put 9 cowboys on a quilt, each in an identical space they need to be roughly the same size and  my sketching didn’t work too well in this regard. Luckily my Daughter is a graphic designer and she showed me how to trace on the computer. Suddenly the patterns looked professional and were much easier to produce. An idea was born, if I liked making these quilts perhaps others would. When I returned permanently to England I decided to set up a web site selling patterns and kits for my designs. I wasn’t too keen on doing the tracing when I had a Daughter to do it so we came to an understanding. I design, she traces and does the patterns, I make up the prototype. I like to think we have produced some very professional patterns between us. Some are made into kits as many people like to use the same material as the original. Also it is easier to have everything needed to start a project instead of having to buy everything and being frustrated by lack of availability and choice.

Quilt pattern Cowboy Layout

This is what the pattern looks like for the cowboy quilt. It has pattern pieces reversed for tracing onto fusible webbing and full sized templates for placing and fusing a whole cowboy before placing on the background fabric. These are printed on one side so that they can be placed on a light box without confusing the tracer. Also included are a general instruction sheet and instructions specific to the cowboy pattern. In addition there is a photograph of the finished quilt and a sheet with the layout measurements and materials requirements. I have tried to make my patterns user friendly based on years of using other people’s patterns and noting the pros and cons.  For individual pictures of the cowboys have a look at nsaaquilting.co.uk or see cowboy quilt link above.