Tag Archives: Grace Frame

Crazy for Butterflies.

9 Apr

I needed to make a quilt for a king sized bed. Making the top was not a problem but what about the cost of having it quilted. My little quilt frame would not even look at it and even if it would my albeit semi professional machine would be working on minus inches by the time the whole thing had rolled up under the arm. The only thing to do was quilt as you go. I have never done one of these before but never let it be said that I would let a little thing like that stop me. There has to be a first time for everything.

First I did crazy patch squares using strips of butterfly fabrics on a sandwich of backing and cotton/polyester wadding . Having chosen to go with a butterfly theme I was going to do some reverse applique butterflies but decided that it would either make or break the project. With my luck it would be the latter. Instead I experimented with embroideries.

DSCN2958

Once I had drawn myself a rough plan of which colour went where to prevent adjacent duplicates it was a doddle. I had sewn the blocks into sections of two rows of eight blocks. The whole quilt was to be eight blocks by eight blocks so I had four sections. the added bonus was that as the blocks already had three layers no stabiliser was needed. It also meant that there would be butterflies the colour of the bobbin thread on the back.

I made my rows and sections by joining blocks with narrow sashing. The sashing is sown to both blocks right sides together on the back.

 

 

DSCN2842

The front is only attached on one block right sides together.

DSCN2841

It is then folded over and either hand or machine stitched on the right side. As life is too short and too filled with future quilts I used a fancy machine stitch trying to keep it parallel with the edge. A straight stitch would have been a nightmare keeping it neat on the back.

DSCN2948I used quilting thread.

DSCN2949

DSCN2961

I hooped the quilt sections and embroidered butterflies. I could have embroidered the butterflies before constructing the strips but this way I could get nearer the edges of the blocks but that was just my preference. I don’t like things too ordered.

DSCN2959

 

DSCN2957

DSCN2956

 

Sew all the strips together, add a wide border to match the sashing and Bob’s your Uncle.

As an extra little touch I stitched butterflies all round the border using Sulky Solar thread. This means that at night a row of luminous butterflies lights the room. Who needs a night light when you have luminous butterflies.

I thought I might try making some baby quilts with luminous embroideries. they will either provide the comfort of a night light or produce mildly confused children. What is life without a little experimentation?

 

Advertisement

Getting All Your Ducks In A Row.

26 Sep

I was trawling the internet mainly to see where links to my blog had come from when I came across yet more inspiration from a fellow crafter. Vicki’s Fabric Creations had a blog on a quilt made from embroideries by Embroidery Connection. They are called ‘Sweet Pea Duckies’ and are irresistible to anyone who likes ‘cute’.  As I believe in sharing here is a link to the page in case you would like to try them too. In this blog I will show you what I produced and how.

If you are not keen on the colours ignore them. The originals are digitised in Marathon threads and I use Madeira so they are largely my interpretation with a bit of help from a thread comparison program. I have never yet found one of those that is accurate.

I also did them on normal patchwork  fabric and they didn’t pucker – not always easy to achieve.

There are ten of them. Have a look at the links for the rest.

I had a bit of a problem in that I was supplied with the wrong colour charts but a quick email put that right, which is perhaps all you can ask. I only mention it in case you might have the same problem and need to know how to solve it.

I always use a piece of fabric bigger than the required block size as embroidering and pressing often distort the block from perfectly square. I then trim the block to size with my trusty cutter/ruler which is a bit easier than a pair of scissors and a lot safer than a separate ruler and rotary cutter. Being accident prone I was very pleased to find these on an Australian visit and I have found a source in the UK after much trawling of the internet and I now have some spares in case they disappear again. I looked for a couple of years and finally found them by accident. It  is amazing how difficult it is to find things on some websites even if you know they are there and I didn’t know where to start.

My first mistake was changing the style of quilt after I had already finished the embroideries. This meant that I had 11″ blocks when what I now needed was 12.5″ blocks. I  got over this by adding a frame,  taking the final size of each block to 12.5″.  I needed an extra 1.5″ total which equates to 3/4″ (0.75″) on each side plus seam allowances of an extra 1/2″ (0.5″) each making each strip  1.25″. Just don’t forget the seam allowances and don’t panic. There is usually a way and  If not you change the design yet again. It is rarely an unmitigated disaster.

Pin and sew them in place with the usual 1/4″ seam. The sides will be 11″ each and top and bottom 12.5″. However, do not assume this, always measure at each stage. Seams are not always accurate.

The ducks are sewn together in threes across giving two rows of three so we need something to join the rows together. I used 2″ squares.

To achieve this you need to cut 6 different strips each 2.5″ wide. I needed to cut two of each for the complete quilt.

Three of the coloured strips.

Join three together twice then cut into 2.5″ strips again. I chose some colours from the duck embroideries to draw together the borders and the embroideries.

Yes the colours are the same but I don’t exactly have studio conditions for my photographs.

Join together 18 of the strips, alternating the colours and using a pin to keep the seams aligned until sewn.

Make three sets.

The rows of ducks are then enclosed in the three sections of squares.

I decided that the next border should be the same blue and the same width as the sashing round the ducks, again to bring the bits of the quilt together. Makes it a bit easier on the eye.

I then did different sized borders using other colours from the squares.

Quilt.

Bind and finish.

There are Fairies at the Bottom of my Stash Box.

21 Sep

Being a bit of an  afficionado of Loralie Designs, when I saw some of her ‘Very Fairy’ panels on sale at a discount I had to have some. Then I couldn’t decide what to do with them so they were put away with the other UFO’s. This week I finally had another look and decided that I must make something with them. I am not a fan of framing a panel and leaving it at that, it seems a bit like cheating so I had to do a bit more.

As you can see, the basic panel comes with four figures at the bottom. I cut those off and all the little flowers and shoes and appliqued them on after I had stitched borders round the central panel.

The basic panel.

Cut round the figures for applique.

Choose fabrics to match.

Fix to corners with fusible web after the borders have been applied.

Satin stitch around the edges in matching colours.

A bit of a session on the quilt frame and ‘Hey Presto’.

I rather took a shine to the Very Fairy l embroideries too so I did a few of those. If you want one and can’t be bothered to do it yourself have a look at my web site on the Loralie Fairy page.  More to be added in the coming days.  They take a while but I think they are worth it.

The Doll Conspiracy

12 Aug

First an update on my Pirate Quilt. You may remember it. If not here is a reminder. Here is a link to one blog.   Here is another .

In it the ship is small but it occurred to me that a bigger ship on a wall hanging would also be a useful addition.

I also appiquéd the mariners compass as an alternative to an embroidery.

In a former life I made dolls and when I started quilting seriously I relegated the paraphernalia to a small section of my work area. (This small section is the size of many ‘3rd’ bedrooms in estate agent terms). I have been meaning to get in there and sort it out with the idea of trying to offload the moulds and made dolls so that I can put my frame in the room. It was only after I had done an inventory and photographed all the dolls that I realised just how much ‘stuff’ there is in there. What I really need is someone wanting to start a  doll making business who wants to buy a whole working studio. Then I just need to sell the dolls I have already made. In case you think  I am exaggerating take a look at this lot. It’s only a drop in the ocean but it’s a bit overpowering.

Kimmie mould  by Cindy Marschner Rolfe

From the Joey mould by Cindy Marschner Rolfe.

Another Joey

Angel Love by Cindy marschner Rolfe.

Theodore by Cheri Chagall with Donna Rubert 28″ body.

Christina.

Sylvie by Cheri Chagall.

Mimi by Cheri Chagall.

Crystal.

L’il Boo by Cindy Marschner Rolfe.

Lucinda

Cleo

Yvette

Ivan

Jenny

Emily

Chubbins

Sipho from Donna Rubert’s Flossie mould

June

Theodora from Theodore mould by Cheri Chagall.

Hannah Rose by Donna Rubert

Elmo

Aaron

There are some more on my web site nsaaquilting.co.uk

It’s not just the dolls or even the moulds. There are wigs, shoes, eyes, and goodness knows what else.

I  have come to the conclusion that life is too short. There are many more dolls I would like to make but I would have to live  several decades more and still be able to lift the moulds – unlikely. Then there is the quilting. So many quilts, so little time.

Blue Dogs, Green Birds, Pink Rabbits and a Game of I-Spy.

3 Aug

I have finished two more UFO’s this week. If I am not careful I might run out. I am getting the hang of the quilt frame now although I have decided that there is not really any scope for imaginative quilting. The space available is too small. I need to come into some money to buy a long-arm setup but as I have no rich relatives ready to leave me their worldly wealth I guess it won’t happen. That being the case I am getting to be a bit of an expert at meandering. I don’t have too many problem stitches these days but I have also discovered that washing the finished quilt evens up the stitching in the antiqueing effect. It also makes sure that all the years sitting in the UFO pile in various dusty locations are washed away leaving a clean fresh quilt. It has the added advantage that you know how it will look when it is washed.

The first was originally a BOM by Kookaburra Cottage. This link will take you to the BOM page on their site and lots of lovely examples of their particular style of design. I have loved them since the first one I saw. They are a bit pricey as a pattern which explains why I make more than one from each.

Little Macca’s Farm

Someone once told me I should label my quilts. Nothing looked right but then I got an embroidery machine and I have never looked back. Just give me an excuse and I will make a label.

The other quilt is an alphabet quilt. I wanted to use up all the charm squares of children’s fabric I had accumulated. Looking at it again after all these years I see that I made it into an I-Spy quilt of sorts too.

In case you are wondering how I achieved the ‘wonky’ effect, wonder no longer. Starting with the top of the centre square attach a strip of fabric to the edge. Attach another strip down the right side onto the new shape. Then the bottom, then the left side. You now have an ordinary upright  block bigger than you need. Make a template the size you want the finished block then place it onto your straight block at any angle desired and cut off the surplus with a rotary cutter. Easy Peasy.

Mustn’t forget the label.

The monkeys are from Oregon Patchworks on this link. There are lots of variations on the monkey embroidery. This one is an applique but there are some straight forward embroideries on the same theme.

Let me leave you with another set of views from where I live.

View Towards the Beach

The Beach

The Outer Harbour

Jeremy Fisher and Friends and Another Vanquished UFO.

21 Jul

This week I have been finishing a quilt based on frog fabric. I actually bought the fabric in  a shop in Trinidad. There’s a bit of name dropping for you. Before you go  green with envy, we went at Easter and it was closed. The only highlight was the revolving restaurant at the top of the hotel. It was a good job we went as there were not too many other people there.

As I finished it I realised that it wasn’t the only frog related item I had made over the years. I once made a quilt and matching bag based on the Peter Rabbit stories. As it wasn’t needed after all I still have it so I took a picture of the Jeremy Fisher alphabet block in faux cross stitch.

Also on the matching bag in normal stitching.

I also, at some time made a couple of frog characters when my Daughters were small. I don’t think anybody actually used them for anything but I haven’t got as far as the charity shop with them yet.

With the quilt as background.

Relaxing on the day bed.

He looks a bit miserable.

This one looks startled.

 

 

I also did some embroideries for a ‘Rainforest’ quilt that  I never somehow got round to. He is particularly fine.

Now for the purpose of the blog – the quilt.

As you can see it is a very easy pattern. Each small square is 2″ (2.5″ before seams) making 10″ finished and each frog square is also 10″ . The border of each square is either 2″ (2.5″) strips or 2″ (2.5″) squares. Add  2″, 1″ and 4″ borders and bind. How much easier could it be. As long as you watch your seam widths and match the seams it cannot fail to look good.

I think I may be getting the hang of the quilting frame. The size  of quiltable quilt on the frame at any one time is still frustrating but at least I can do a good job as long as I plan it. There are times though when I would love to do a really big design. Not,I fear something that will happen in the absence of a win on some game of chance. I don’t think I’ll hold my breath blue in the face not being an attractive look.

See this tip on one of my other posts for the ‘how to’ on seams.

I had occasion to make a wedding  anniversary card this week. If you are interested the embroidery comes from Emblibrary.com. under ‘Tweets’. There are lots of different ones. You need to scroll down about 5 designs then you will find all the different tweets. There are patriotic ones, boy scout ones, golf ones, birthday ones etc etc etc. As usual the digitising is faultless.

I decided to change all 15 needles on my embroidery machine yesterday. They didn’t appear to be a problem but some of them had been in rather a long time so I didn’t think it could harm. I was quite impressed with myself. They are usually a pain but once I had loosened the screws I managed to get them all in without a hassle. The reason they are a pain is that the shanks are round so could go in any way except that they can’t or they don’t work. The difference between front and back is obvious if you can see the thing but bionic sight would be an advantage. The screws were the problem. I had been working on the basis ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ but the tightness of some of the screws made it obvious they should have been changed before. Still, hopefully they should be fine for a while now. After all who needs a working wrist.

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

15 Jun

I have finished the pirate quilt. I wasn’t sure I liked it until I quilted it. It is amazing the difference it makes.

Here it is loaded on the frame. Thread colour chosen, bobbin colour chosen – and off we go

I am still at the meandering stage. I have lots of fabulous ideas about what I would like to do in the way of quilting. Unfortunately they mostly require the full sized area provided by a long arm machine and frame. The main problem is that unless you draw everything out in advance you could get to the bottom border and find you can’t repeat the same pattern as you stitched in the top border. Not only frustrating but also the ruination of the quilt. The reason for this is that as you progress and roll up the quilt under the machine arm the space left on which to work reduces. The only cure is a long-arm setup.  Still it beats stitch-in-the-ditch – much more fun.

View of the front and back of the quilt.

The finished Quilt.
Top Left.

Top Right.

Bottom Left.

Bottom Right.

Pilchards.

Walking the Plank.

Ship.

Compass.

The compass is an embroidery from Emblibrary.com

If you are thinking of using a piano key border and loading it onto a frame for quilting it might pay to consider that it may stretch as you roll  and quilt so stabilising first will help, otherwise you get a slightly twisted border. Just a heads up so it doesn’t creep up on you and ruin your quilt.

Now I just have to write up the pattern to go to the designer and then onto my web site. nsaaquilting.co.uk

Eat Your Heart Out Little Green Men

24 Mar

Another UFO shot down without malice. In fact I quite enjoyed quilting this one. When finished I washed it and dried it in the dryer to see the effect. I have always shied away from washing quilts when finished but that was mainly when I did stitch in the ditch. With the amount of quilting on this one it just gets what is known as the ‘antique’ look. Putting it in the dryer enhances the look.  Mind you if you have just spent hours and money on a future  heirloom don’t take my word for it. I have a whole stack of pieced tops on which to experiment. The worst that can happen is that I use it to keep myself warm in the depths of Winter. I would hate to be responsible for a recherché bed for the dog.

The only snag is that a pile of UFOs takes up less room than a pile of finished quilts. ‘Some people are never satisfied’ I hear you say.

This is another  Kookaburra Cottage  pattern, originally pubished as a BOM. The unquilted version and another colourway are in my post  ‘Where’s Goosey Gander When You Want Him’  if you are interested. As I have said before, the  quilting adds that little extra something in the same way as the backstitch on a cross stitch picture.

Now that one is finished I am having a go at using a speed controller instead of the stitch regulator. Initial tests are promising although it would be a bit of a downer to find I preferred it to the stitch regulator when it is a seventh of the price. I have started on a quilt I am not too worried about and it seems quite easy to control, especially where ‘caterpillars’ are concerned.

Here is the control. Not the prettiest thing ever invented but who cares if it does the job.

Yes I do know it’s upside down.

I will keep you apprised of the results of the trials. A very good page to visit if you have a frame and midarm is Piecemeal Quilts it has a list of things to check and adjust and a few tips. I found it very useful.

Now for the advert.

March 30th to April 1st is the Spring Quilt Festival at Westpoint near Exeter. If you are nearby come along. It should be worth it.

In the Steps of Aristotle

17 Mar

Aristotle was the guy that said ‘The Whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. Apparently he was right. Who after all, can argue with Aristotle.

I am afraid I am still on the subject of frame quilting. I am told that nobody looks closely at the cloth of a suit, they look at the overall appearance. If I had only known this when, amongst other things, I made suits I could have saved myself a lot of angst. The same applies to quilting. I have, apparently been expecting too much and nobody will notice anything but the overall pattern. I think the sad fact may be that this is true. Still, we soldier on and I am still working hard at perfecting the art. Here is another example I have just finished. I decided that practising on bits of fabric was all very well but quilt conditions were required for a true test. You will notice that I have made myself do the binding too before going on to the next quilt on the frame. After all a UFO is still a UFO until it is completely finished.

It is quite a cheery little number. I made it when I was just starting out with applique and I was experimenting. I didn’t know how to set up the tension and which bobbin thread to use for satin stitch so I did raw edge applique. Some people like the fact it frays a bit with wear and washing. I’m not so sure but for what it is worth here it is.

I had a bit of an obsession with hearts as they were a good way to use up charm squares. Now I use the charm squares more for general applique but the hearts  are still great fun.

Here are a few closeups. First the raw edge applique.

Now the not so perfect ,but still being persevered with, quilting.

Don’t you just love variegated thread on vibrant colours.

The back looks really good on the Aristotle principle too.

Recognise this old friend? Unpicked and requilted – definitely worth the effort. I also gave it a wash to redistribute the fabric and lose the holes from the original quilting. I have always avoided washing a finished quilt but with this amount of quilting the ‘antique look adds to the overall effect.

Close up of quilting.

We are getting there although there are still a few ‘deliberate’ mistakes. I believe you are supposed to have a few mistakes as  nobody is perfect but (here insert the name of your particular deity). I’m not so sure.

The Importance of Being Earnest.

10 Mar

I must remember that irony is something not everyone understands. It doesn’t always travel the length of Britain so I guess I should have known it wouldn’t translate so well round The World. What you have to remember when reading my posts is that my way of getting through life involves a deal of self denegration and a modicum of self mockery. Probably something to do with placating fate but then let’s not get too deeply into that.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, I will not be using my Noah’s Ark quilt as a doormat. I have taken it apart though and will be re- quilting it. The replacement track for my quilting  frame has just arrived and I am letting it reach room temperature before installing it. That way, hopefully it won’t crack. I am still getting advice from various quarters about the standard of quilting and am hoping the new track will help. Everybody is being very helpful so hopefully we will get there.

Meanwhile perhaps you would like to admire my latest creation. I thought it was a bit mediocre before I quilted it but I think it has come up rather well. The quilting had defined it rather like the backstitch on a cross stitch picture. I am hoping my next quilt will be better but crossing ones fingers and manoeuvering the carriage on the frame are not compatible so let’s hope luck doesn’t come into it.

A few details

I tried to do a pastel quilt but  I am afraid this is the nearest I could get using my stash. I just don’t seem to do pastels. I now have much more fabric and so could probably do a paler version but it wouldn’t be me somehow. Anyway, apparently vibrant colurs are better for babies so that is my excuse.

I have spent the day packing panels and fat quarters for the Spring Quilt festival at Westpoint in Exeter. If you are in the area pop in. I wager you won’t be disappointed.