Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Grand Illusion - Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt 2014 - Introduction

Fabric Selection - Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt 2014
It's that time again - Bonnie Hunter has launched her annual Mystery Quilt for 2014 - Grand Illusion.  She launched it way back in mid-October and caught me off-guard and it hasn't been until now that I have had the chance to put my mind to it.
 
This year I have decided to NOT do scrappy.  I need to make a quilt / pair of quilts in a particular colour scheme using warm greys and soft blues, so I have opted to use the mystery quilt as the pattern using the above fabrics.   It took a while to get to that decision - I should have taken a picture of my workroom - it was covered in fat quarters as I auditioned colours for the quilt. It's a mystery quilt, so I will be living on the edge to see if this colour scheme works.

The first part will be launched on Friday 28th November, only 10 days to go!

NB: Feb 2015 - This is as far as this one got, sadly I didn't get to join in for 2014, but only a few more months until 2015 is released!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Nearly Insane Quilt - Update #3 November

Nearly Insane Quilt - November 2014 update
Nearly Insane Quilt - November 2014 update
It's hard to believe you can be exhausted from sitting hand stitching all day, but last night as I made the last few stitches to get my Nearly Insane quilt blocks together all I could think about was going to bed.  The construction of this has taken longer than anticipated, but as you will see from the picture all the blocks, sashing and cornerstones are together.  If you look back a few posts you may also be able to play 'spot the difference', as several of the blocks have been changed partially or completely.

English Paper Piecing - Nearly Insane Quilt
English Paper Piecing - Nearly Insane Quilt
All the paper is still in and I imagine it will probably take me three months to remove all that!

Nearly Insane Quilt - November 2014 update
Nearly Insane Quilt - November 2014 update

When I started this project I now realise I partly imagined that once I had reached this stage it would be done, but todays project is to start get the borders together and there is still quite a journey to go.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Nearly Insane Quilt - Update #2 September 2014

Nearly Insane Quilt Construction - September 2014
Nearly Insane Quilt Construction - September 2014
I thought it was time I gave you a bit of an update on the Nearly Insane Quilt.  Another row has been added, but otherwise construction progress is slow.  The reason for this is that I have been re-doing some of the blocks - some completely from the start, others pulled apart and changed.  Having done so many different blocks, I have learnt a lot along the way. You can see some below.  The original is on the left, the revised block on the right.

Nearly Insane Quilt block Nearly Insane Quilt block


Nearly Insane Quilt blockNearly Insane Quilt block
 
 
Nearly Insane Quilt blockNearly Insane Quilt block
 
 
Nearly Insane Quilt block
 
I am also in the process of re-doing Block 43.  You may remember that this block was the most difficult one.  Having done similar blocks I think I have worked out why I was having so many problems and why it was so wavy.  It is bang centre in the quilt, so it is SLOWLY being redone.
 
 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Katherine Guerrier Retrospective Quilt Exhibition, Wales, September 2014

'Stars and Scraps' Quilt by Katherine Guerrier 
All summer I have been trying to get to an exhibition of quilts 'Adventures in Colour' by Katherine Guerrier, author of one of my favourite quilting books 'Scrap Quilt Sensation'.  Today was the day.
'Triangle Directions' Quilt by Katherine Guerrier
'Triangle Directions' Quilt by Katherine Guerrier
As you will see from the photos, her work is all about colour.  Katherine has done workshops at my local quilt shop, Busy Bees Patchwork in Newport, Wales, and I saw several interpretations of her work on display in one of their exhibitions a few years ago. (BTW - Good news! Busy Bees Patchwork is up and running again, just around the corner from their old shop near Tredegar House (National Trust), they also have an online shop).

'Strictly Triangles' Quilt by Katherine Guerrier
'Strictly Triangles' Quilt by Katherine Guerrier
I took a close up of one of my favourite quilts, 'Strictly Triangles' because it really shows the mix of scraps she includes in her scrap quilts.  I love this quilt.  It is made up from scrappy half square triangles.
'Strictly Triangles' Quilt by Katherine Guerrier
'Strictly Triangles' Quilt by Katherine Guerrier
The exhibition is at the Rhondda Heritage Park (CF37 2NP) in Wales, and will be on until September 19th, 2014.  The exhibition is displayed upstairs next to the caf√©, and entry is FREE. If you can't make it to the exhibition her book is great inspiration.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Zig Zag / Chevron Quilt - Kaffe Fassett, Philip Jacobs Fabrics

Zig Zag / Chevron Quilt - Kaffe Fassett Philip Jacobs, Westminster fabrics
Zig Zag / Chevron Quilt - Kaffe Fassett Philip Jacobs, Westminster fabrics
A few weeks ago I shared my purchases from the Festival of Quilt 2014.  It included a bundle of Kaffe Fassett fabrics for 'a quilt' which I felt I needed to get out of my system.   Having seen the display of Kaffe Fassett quilts in Lampeter, Wales, last summer, I realised that his fabrics do most of the talking and piecing and quilting take a bit of a backseat. On closer inspection of the fabrics - not all the fabrics are Kaffe Fassett, some are by the fabric designer, Philip Jacobs, but all of them are the same style and tones, all produced by Westminster Fabrics.
8 inch squares for half square triangles
8 inch squares for half square triangles
With all that in mind I opted for a simple strong design using just half square triangles in a zig zag layout.  No pattern, just a few rough calculations on the back of an envelope and off I went.  As you know, I usually work with quite small pieces, but for this Chevron Quilt I cut 'huge' 8 inch squares (50 blue, 50 pink), to make 100 half square triangles (HSTs).  I had about 9 different fabrics for each colour.  I had some fat quarters, some long quarters and some half metres.  I managed 4 squares from a fat quarter and 5 from a long quarter, with some smaller bits left over.  I did my best to straighten the fabric before I cut the squares, which I managed to do to my *own* standards.  Once cut I paired up the pink / blue squares and marked a diagonal as a guide for stitching. 
Half Square Triangles - Kaffe Fassett fabric
Half Square Triangles - Kaffe Fassett fabric
Stitching on the machine, I took my time to pin the pieces thoroughly to make sure the points met.  I even resisted giving each block a good press with the steam iron, which is my usual approach, allowing the blocks to ease into place. It all came together very quickly, which is in contrast to my Nearly Insane quilt which I have been working on since February 2013! 
Zig Zag / Chevron Quilt - Kaffe Fassett Philip Jacobs, Westminster fabrics
Zig Zag / Chevron Quilt - Kaffe Fassett Philip Jacobs, Westminster fabrics

The finished quilt top is 72" x 72", and I think this has to be a first - I have actually made a quilt top in the same month as purchasing the fabric!  As you reach for your sunglasses, you can see the colours are quite exuberant, but with signs of autumn on the way a bit of exuberance maybe just what we all need.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday and Crazy Mom Quilts

Monday, 25 August 2014

Constructing the Nearly Insane Quilt - Update #1

 
Nearly Insane Quilt - Construction
Nearly Insane Quilt - Construction
I have been working on a few different projects lately so I just wanted you all to know that the Nearly Insane Quilt has not been forgotten.  This is the progress so far in terms of putting it together. I love the look as each row gets added, but it takes a long time when you are hand sewing.  What I have done so far seems to be just a drop in the ocean for this stage.

Nearly Insane Quilt (reverse) - English Paper Piecing
Nearly Insane Quilt (reverse) - English Paper Piecing

I thought I would show you a picture of the back.  Yes, all the English paper pieces are still in which is allowing me to keep it dead straight and dead flat.  Until the moment when it is ready to be quilted I am really reluctant to remove the paper, the bias on this quilt is CRAZY!

The stitching on this is SO slow that I am almost a day late for Slow Stitching Sunday  but right on time for Deign Wall Monday.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Anna Maria Horner meets Victoria Finlay Wolfe meets Celtic Solstice - Triple Whammy Mini Scrap Quilt Project

'Celtic Solstice Feather' Anna Maria Horner
'Celtic Solstice Feather' 18.5 cm x 38cm
I expect many of you will recognise this pattern.  It is an Anna Maria Horner feather pattern which can be downloaded FREE from her website.  I have admired these feathers for a long time and the design was subconsciously on my To-Do list.  I think I only needed to do one to get it off the list.
'Celtic Solstice' Fabric Scrap basket
'Celtic Solstice' Fabric Scrap basket
This basket of scraps has been looking at me since January from when I completed Bonnie Hunter's 'Celtic Solstice' Mystery Quilt.  I just needed the right project to use them up.  Just one of these lovely feathers would be the fix I needed.  I slightly reduced the size down to 90%, as I originally intended it to be a mug rug 'sort of thing'.  Now it is complete I might hang it on a wall.
Foundation pieced feathers anna Maria Horner
Foundation pieced feathers
Because the scraps really were 'scraps', the lengths were quite short, some thin, so a whole family of feathers were not really the order of the day.  Using pages from an old Radio Times for my foundation paper, I randomly stitched down the strips, and then cut out the feather pattern.
Feather - Anna Maria Horner pattern
Feather - Anna Maria Horner pattern
I love how the unruly scraps have been tamed into this shape, a shape that reminds me of a school tie.  It looks so neat.  The pattern was quite easy to put together and dragged my dormant dressmaking pattern cutting skills back out into the workroom.
'Celtic Solstice Feather' Anna Maria Horner
'Celtic Solstice Feather'
After lots of auditioning from my fabric stash I decided to set my 'Celtic Solstice' Anna Maria Horner feather off with a  Moda 'Weave' #9898 grey fabric (I think I will need to add more of this to my stash), and a binding of a pink spotty fabric from the Chez Moi 'Boutique' range.
'made fabric' for quilt backing
'made fabric' for quilt backing

For the back I wanted to try out another technique. This time is was Victoria Findlay Wolfe's 'made fabric' from her book ' 15 Minutes of Play'.  Again, the idea was to use up the scraps from my Celtic Solstice quilt.  I did this all from memory without actually taking the time to take the book off the shelf.  It took quite a while (more than 15 minutes ...) as I got caught up in quite a few cul-de-sacs, but I got there in the end.

Back of mini feather quilt
Back of mini feather quilt

Here is the back of the mini quilt using the 'made fabric'.  I machine quilted it with a stipple, but I will admit that some of the seams of the 'made fabric' provided quite a lot of resistance and it would not be a backing fabric of choice in the future.

So, something a bit different here from Fabadashery.  Have you tried anything new today?
 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Pets On Quilts 2014

Suzi - A Pet on a Quilt
Suzi - A Pet on a Quilt

The GOOD news:
Pets on Quilts voting is OPEN. Voting is open for a week, starting Tuesday 12th August.

The BAD news:
Suzi and I just didn't make the deadline this year, so you can't vote for her, but here is a picture anyway.

More GOOD news:
Every Friday is Feline Friday over at Sarah Did It!
 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014 - Shopping

As I knew I was going to the Festival of Quilts for two days this year, I planned ahead and actually wrote a shopping list to work from which included a few projects I have in mind.

Kaffe Fassett Fabrics
Kaffe Fassett Fabrics
I don't have many pieces of Kaffe Fassett fabric in my stash as I have found it hard to blend them with other ranges.  They only seem to work with other Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  So I decided if you can't beat them, join them.  The plan is to use these blues and reds in a chevron / zig-zag quilt.  Doughty's were selling them at a good price and I think I just need to get this little Kaffe project out of my system.
Foltvilag English Paper Piecing Templates
Foltvilag English Paper Piecing Templates
In a previous edition of Quiltmania magazine I had noticed a shop in Europe selling tiny plastic templates for English Paper Piecing.  Well, they were at the show. Foltvilag are based in Hungary and sell these versatile patchwork templates.  With all my Nearly Insane blocks completed I have a couple of jars of scraps staring at me and I thought these shapes would be an incentive to use them up.  These templates are tiny, but there were smaller ones (and larger ones) available in a variety of shapes. When it gets tiny, paper sometimes just isn't man enough.In addition there is a Foltvilag YouTube channel which demonstrates how to use them.

Oakshott Fabrics
Oakshott Fabrics
Oakshotts were there.  I succumbed.  I don't know how long it will be until I can bear to untie the ribbon and actually use these lovely fabrics.

Others things went into my bag including a new seam ripper, a new machine cleaning brush and some Superior Threads Bottom Line to try in my machine.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014 - Focus on Medallion Quilts

When I go to a show there is usually a theme which is my current 'flavour of the month'.  This time at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham I was focussing on medallion quilts.  I like the idea that you can use lots of different techniques and fabrics in one quilt.  I especially like the mystery 'Round Robins'.
'My Love fro Liberty' by Tracy Alpin
'My Love fro Liberty' by Tracy Alpin
This quilt by Tracy Alpin uses Liberty fabric - always a winner.  It also caught my eye as I have been looking at spool blocks lately, as I like the sewing related idea behind them.  The Liberty colours are always so attractive.

'Turning 40' by Rebecca Handyside
'Turning 40' by Rebecca Handyside
I love the centre panel in Rebecca's quilt.  It has plenty of white around it to show off the appliqued flower.  She also used this space to show off some lovely quilting.  The colours are lovely.
'Yorkshire Quilt' by Pam Lofthouse mrs billings coverlet
'Yorkshire Quilt' by Pam Lofthouse
This medallion quilt by Pam Lofthouse is based on the Mrs Billings coverlet.  To me, the colours she has used make it look more graphic and modern than other interpretations I have seen.  It must have been fun watching it grow.

'Gargantuan' by Mary Cunningham and Maggie Kingston
'Gargantuan' by Mary Cunningham and Maggie Kingston
I haven't done much applique myself, but I love the applique centre which is the focus of this quilt by Mary Cunningham and Maggie Kingston.  I can see applique, churn dash blocks, log cabin, flying geese - it's all in there.  That is what I love about medallion quilts.  Again, quilted beautifully to enhance the piecing.

'V and A Postcard Quilt' by Jean Phillips and Andrew Whittle Kaffe Fassett Scrap
'V and A Postcard Quilt' by Jean Phillips and Andrew Whittle
This medallion quilt is made from over 10 years worth of Kaffe Fassett fabric scraps.  Kaffe Fassett fabrics are always bold, and always seem to produce a bold quilt.  It must have felt great to use up all those scraps and a good excuse to go and buy some more!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014


'Fish at Sea' by Pam Stainer
'Fish at Sea' by Pam Stainer
Last week it was the 2014 Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham.  This is the biggest annual quilt show in the UK, and being based right next to Birmingham airport, it allows a lot of people to fly in from all over Europe. This year I decided to go for two days, as one day never seems enough to see the all the quilts and make the most of all the stalls.  Here are some of the lovely quilts I saw.

'Fish at Sea' by Pam Stainer
'Dreamtime' by Antonia Hering, The Netherlands
This was one of my favourite quilts from the Contemporary category.  The quilt depicts an aboriginal story of 3 sisters in the Blue Mountains in Australia, and features the 'dot painting' that you see in traditional aboriginal art.

'Dreamtime' by Antonia Hering, The Netherlands
'Dreamtime' by Antonia Hering, The Netherlands
From the close-up you may be able to see that every dot is appliqued on - 7500 in total.  The quilt was totally hand quilted, hand appliqued - totally handmade.  It has won prizes in quit shows all over the world.  I'm glad lots of people have got to see it - it is absolutely amazing.

'Hip Hip Hooray II' by Jacqueline Amies
'Hip Hip Hooray II' by Jacqueline Amies

I love repeat patterns.  This small contemporary quilt by Jacqueline Amies was made with cotton sateen and raw edge applique.  It was inspired by the shiny black hips seen in the countryside of Hampshire.  A simple idea, extremely well executed. I love it.
'Not the Darts of Death' by Sue Dawson
'Not the Darts of Death' by Sue Dawson
More repeats. This one was made up from silk scraps, with very fine black inserts for the outlines.  Some of the silk scraps were very dated, but completely brought up to date with this modern design.

'Big Bang' by Carmen Arevalo Sanchez and Silvia Gonzalez Medina
'Big Bang' by Carmen Arevalo Sanchez and Silvia Gonzalez Medina
I rarely work with these bright colours myself, but I am always attracted by their freshness.  In fact I realised when I got home that I liked this quilt so much I had taken two photographs of it! The coloured triangles were made out of a 'Jelly Roll Race' flimsy and arranged in a 'Big Bang'.

'Big Bang' by Carmen Arevalo Sanchez and Silvia Gonzalez Medina
'Big Bang' by Carmen Arevalo Sanchez and Silvia Gonzalez Medina
Again a simple design, but what really made this quilt was the quilting - yes, quilting REALLY does make the quilt.  The white space was divided up and different patterns were used to make different textures. Brilliant.

'Codes and Secrets' by Hilary Gooding qult
'Codes and Secrets' by Hilary Gooding
More clever ideas.  Hilary Gooding has decorated this Frieda Anderson fabric with bar codes, QR codes, and more subtly, with braille quilted into the quilt.

'Codes and Secrets' by Hilary Gooding
'Codes and Secrets' by Hilary Gooding

'The Good Life' by Philippa Naylor
'The Good Life' by Philippa Naylor
This quilt by Philippa Naylor won first prize in the Traditional Quilts category.  Every inch of this quilt design was planned out with great thought and stitched with great care. It seems perfect in almost every way. 

'Flourish on the Vine' by Kathy Wylie, Canada
'Flourish on the Vine' by Kathy Wylie, Canada
This quilt by Kathy Wylie also had an enormous amount of detail, technique and design.  It was beautiful.  I can only imagine that it missed out on a prize as it was entered in the Contemporary category.

'Raconteur the Storyteller's Collection' by Cinzia White, Australia
'Raconteur the Storyteller's Collection' by Cinzia White, Australia
Here is one for all you hexagon fanatics out there.  This quilt by Cinzia White, Australia, has 13,972 pieces in 363 blocks, which are QAYG (quilt as you go)

'Raconteur the Storyteller's Collection' by Cinzia White, Australia
'Raconteur the Storyteller's Collection' by Cinzia White, Australia
Some of the 2" hexagons have nearly 150 pieces in them!

'Omaggio a Gerda Bentsson' by Laura Armiraglio, Italy
'Omaggio a Gerda Bentsson' by Laura Armiraglio, Italy
Finally, here is a lovely quilt by Laura Armiraglio.  As well as the natural theme, the border was made out of hessian, and the quilting was really organic.

All good stuff.