Tag Archives: quilting

Ask the Panel

11 Mar

I love panel quilts. They allow you to get on with quilting without having actually to make a complicated quilt and they give you scope for experimentation without worrying about messing up a quilt that took hours to piece or wasting time on a bit of calico that you don’t know what to do with when it is finished.

I also once went on a thread painting course that was a bit of a waste of time but when I started to use a longarm I realised that panel quilts were the ideal material to practise on.

On this one from SusiBee I did mostly echoing and swirls because it was one of the earlier ones I did. A few wiggly lines for the water and Bob’s your Uncle.

This one allowed a bit more definition with a bit of thread painting on the icebergs and mountains. It is not dense but it is the same technique.

This one gave a lot of scope for echoing and a touch of thread painting but the next one takes it to the next level. The giraffe is my favourite.

Once you get the hang of the panel the next stage is to make a panel into a quilt with some simple borders in matching fabrics..The same criteria apply in that you don’t waste hours of piecing if it all goes pear shaped but so far it hasn’t. You get a full sized quilt made quickly and very difficult to get wrong. There are no points on these, no misshapen blocks and no running out of fabric on the last block. A word to the wise – always measure the pieces, never just add a strip and cut to size afterwards. You will get wavy borders and they are a real pain to quilt.

Panels help to learn techniques and also allow you to get control of the machine instead of it controlling you which is the way it appears when it is brand new. Try it. It’s much more fun than calico and a lot less nerve-racking than a pieced quilt when you are practising.

Bear Facts and Multiplications

16 Jan

It seems a long time since I last posted. In fact it is quite a long time. Tempus Fugit when you are enjoying yourself. Also I have been running a bricks and mortar shop which took up most of my time. Last time I published I think I had completed the Elizabeth Hartman Bjorn the Bear Quilt. The latter was made from leftovers from the Fancy Forest Quilt I made earlier. I don’t know if that qualifies as upcycling but whatever it is it’s an extra quilt top for no extra outlay and that can’t be bad.

After I made the first Bjorn quilt I watched a video of Angela Walters quilting a quilt by Tula Pink. She had taken the Bjorn the Bear pattern and used her own fabrics to add her stamp and I thought it was really attractive. It was not anything I would have thought of doing myself but there it was. Also, in my stash was a bundle of Free Spirit Fat Quarters I had no idea what I was going to do with. A Match made in Heaven. What do you think?

Compare the one on my 3rd December 2018 post. Two totally different quilts with the same basic pattern. I intend to do this again when I find a likely candidate. I love it.

The original for comparison.

I didn’t do the quilting the same way that she did. She did a lot of clever feathers and I think I must be the only person in the Quilting World that does not really like them. Or maybe I am just a scaredy Cat. I really must try and conquer them. Who knows they may even become my favourite pattern. Whatever else it is all good quilting practice and you can’t have too much of that.

There is a reason for my return. My steam driven website is now no more. I have a new site with a new look and hopefully I can keep up with the blogs as I explore more quilts in the future.

http://www.nsaaquilting.co.uk is the address. Hope to see you there.


Seaside Postcards from McKenna Ryan

14 Apr

One of the perks of a wholesale account with McKenna Ryan is that I also get to make her quilts at an affordable price. Imagine the problems I had resisting the deal on laser cut kits on two of her designs – ‘From the Coast with Love’ and’ Snow Buds’

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snow Buds

It is sort of cheating but I just fancied a bit of applique that I could do in a hurry. I have started on the Coastal one as I thought it would make a good window display, my being by the seaside and such. Added to which, I already bought the pattern on its own and having it made up as an example never hurts to sell a pattern.

I also have two Kukaburra Cottage quilts cut out ready to applique so the next few weeks could be busy on the applique front. I just need the machine to behave now and I will have fun.

I have laid out some of the Coast but I will be doing it with satin stitch rather than the McKenna Ryan method. It is the way I like to work and even wall hangings need a wash occasionally and I would not be happy if they frayed. Having said that I see why she uses her straight stitch method as it means the lines stay clean on what are almost paintings done in fabric.

Here are the first three laid out.

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The fabric is interesting. It might be interesting to try it with other fabric too.

I will keep you posted on progress.

Gypsy Chic and a Carousel

23 Nov

Loralie Designs has started reissuing older fabric designs and one I have been using this week is one called Gypsy Chique (sic). I decided to make a bag using no sew fusible web. I have never used it despite selling it on my website.

First  cut out the figures from the panel fabric leaving fabric all round. Then iron it onto the fusible web and cut round the shape accurately.

Back View

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Front View

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Cut 4 pieces of cream fabric and two of wadding and make up pockets for the front of the bag. Put two of the cream pieces right sides together and a piece of wadding on top. Stitch through all layers, turn and press. Quilt through all layers in whatever pattern you like.

Arrange figures on the front of the pocket and fuse.

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Cut four pieces the same width as the pockets and a few inches higher depending on the size of bag. Take one piece and a matching piece of wadding and quilt. Repeat with one other piece and two pieces for the sides and one for the base.

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The other pieces are for the lining.

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Place one pocket piece on each of the matching front/back pieces – wrong side of pocket to right side of bag front/back. Add sides then base to make a bag shape.

Make the unquilted pieces into a matching structure without pockets  or wadding for lining.

Place lining wrong sides of lining to wrong side of bag. Pin or baste.

Cut 2.5″ strips of matching or contrasting fabric and stitch together to make a piece long enough to go round the top of the bag. Fold in half lengthways and press. Place strip with the raw edge against the top of the bag and stitch. Turn inside and stitch again either by hand or machine depending on the look you want.

Cut two 2.5″ strips of fabric for each handle. Cut a piece of Rigilene Polyester the length of the handles you want. Sew the handles right sides together and turn and press. Thread the Rigilene inside, distribute the gathers and stitch to the bag.

Voila one large bag perhaps for shopping.

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You can of course make a smaller one with one or two figures on the pocket.

As for the Carousel in the title. Just a new fabric from Loralie Designs.

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Sunbonnet Sue, Ex-UFO

19 Jun

The two sunbonnet quilts are now finished.

They didn’t turn out too badly.

One top finished.

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Here it is on the frame ready to quilt.

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Close up of quilting.

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Quilting round figures.

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The two quilts finished and bound.

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Just the labels now. I have a few without labels so I will have to have a labelathon.

Details of pattern etc on my original blog.

 

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.

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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.

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

Mining the Stash

19 Jan

I tidied the dungeon today. If we are being literal, I tidied half the dungeon.The problem was that, having rearranged the area I sew in I turned round to discover that although I had one lovely tidy section, I had moved everything surplus to requirements down to the other end. This now means I have to start tidying that bit tomorrow. Perhaps I should just place a large dustbin by the door and save myself the trouble.

The flaw in this plan is of course that if I throw out anything it will be just the bit of blue or green I need to finish a project. Not that I would ever find it at the moment but that is a detail. Luckily I get a certain amount of satisfaction creating order out of chaos. That is until I try to find something that is no longer where I knew it was. Still at least the dust bunnies have hopped off for a few weeks and the resident spiders will be spending tonight re-spinning the webs I hoovered up this morning.

Since writing the above I have bought myself some plastic drawers. Now I can see all the small fabric pieces I did not throw away. They are colour coded and perhaps will stay tidy now. The times I have thrown everything out of a very large box in order to find a tiny piece of just the right yellow. No more.

It is amazing how just the act of completing one job, ie the fabric organisation, kick starts other projects.

I have had this quilt on the frame for weeeks if not months but couldn’t find the motivation to finish it. I was looking for something to demonstrate the use of a fabric panel in a quilt and came across a pattern at Blank Quilting.  It is actually a pattern for use with the Fashion Beach collection but would lend itself to any of the Loralie Designs panels and other makes too. I adapted it for the Belles Collection of fabrics.

See what you think

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Close up.

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Simple but effective.

The Cheapskate’s Way to Unique Applique.

28 Nov

You may have noticed that patterns are expensive. They are also not always what you would choose. For instance, suppose that your child likes a particular character from literature or TV. You may not be able to get a pattern for an applique of same but you can probably find a colouring book. How obvious is that and how many people never think of it? I never have used this method but I’m considering it.

The other day I was browsing in a local shop that sells a lot of end-of-line  and remaindered stock and I found a  colouring book featuring snowmen. It is a bit late for this year but I will be making at least a snowman themed wall hanging  next year. In theory I could do it  now but I have a queue of UFOs and  refuse to allow a new project until at least some are finished.

This  book is ‘Colour with Frosty’ from www.holland-publishing.co.uk . This particular book is no longer on the site (probably why it was reduced) but there are lots more. The best place for cheap books is one of the remainder shops like The Works. If you want a closer look than the internet affords they have a store finder from your post code   and you can go along and grab an armful.

There were lots of other animals; bears and penguins for instance but these are the ones I have chosen on the snowman theme.

The Book – I am not sure  it is the actual Frosty the Snowman but that’s what it says on the tin so I’ll go with it.

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Unless you are a McKenna Ryan fan choose pictures with large pieces and no fiddly bits. Having said that, if you see something you really like and it has lots of fiddly bits, have a go. I use the satin stitch method of attaching my appliques and I have not yet found anything too difficult, small or fiddly to deal with (even McKenna Ryan). In fact she has a beautiful new quilt with snowmen too. Have a look. If you like kits her fabrics are lovely.

If you need instructions on applique have a look at the ‘Tips and Tricks’ page on the heading at the top of this page. There are several applique projects with the basic how tos.

One note of caution. The books are someone’s copyright. If you use them for yourself I cannot see there would be a problem, although I am no expert. If you try to sell the resulting quilt, in theory you could get into copyright problems so best not to do it.

Monkey Puzzle Solved and the End of Christmas.

18 Jun

Just an update on the projects featured in the last post.

And  this one.

I had completed the alphabet monkeys for what was going to be a cot quilt. I obviously took my eye off the ball and having put it together with a set of 25 patch blocks, realised that it was a bit on the long and thin size. The only way to proceed was to make it into a full sized quilt for a single bed.

This I did.

DSCN2598_450x600Some Detail.

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Not my usual colours but I think they work quite well.

At the same time I was finishing ‘Chrissie Down Under’ by McKenna Ryan.

I can’t say I am as thrilled as I hoped by the completed wall hanging but at least it is finished.

I think my conclusion is that she does animals and birds very well but the Santa and the Cat don’t quite work. The problem with her patterns is that it is not easy to find a large picture of the finished quilt to see what it will look like.

I did use satin stitch round all the appliques rather than the suggested straight stitching with a poly filament thread. At least I can wash it without it falling apart.Mind you my all singing and dancing newer Pfaff refused to have anything to do with the multiple layers of fabric and glue. Whilst it was sulking I dug out my original Pfaff bought in 1985 and I have to say that it is far superior to the one I bought to replace it when the motor gave up. Nothing to do with the fact the original was made in Germany of course. (sarcy face emoticon) Luckily I decided that the small amount of money I was going to be charged to have a new motor fitted was worth it so I now have my old machine back and this quilt was able to be completed. What I will do with it I am not sure. We may have to move house to get higher ceilings.

DSCN2591_450x600 I love the detail on these birds.

DSCN2592_600x286Fiddly but worth it.

DSCN2593_600x306These may be my favourites.

DSCN2594_600x397This bird presented the biggest challenge with its layers of feathers.

DSCN2595_559x600See the detail.

DSCN2596_252x600Kangaroos and pelicans.

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As I sit posting this I can hear music from the village green. Every year Polperro has a music festival so every afternoon there are a couple of bands performing and then lots more in all the pubs in the evening. The Big Cheese and myself even took in a spot of chamber music on Sunday.

Dyeing to Show You

15 Feb

If you read my last blog you will have seen my first attempts at dyeing fabric. Since then I can’t stop myself. I have dyed a fabric in every colour I bought and some in more than one. Behold.

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I have also started using them in my applique.

This one makes for rather a busy background but you can’t deny it’s colourful.

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You may remember I used some similar fabric in a quilt I made featuring dragons. In fact it was this fabric that started the interest in dyeing my own.

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close up of fabrics.

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In case you were wondering about the clowns, they are from my new quilt pattern. It will be published as soon as I get the time to sort out the printing.

Here’s a preview.

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