Wednesday, 22 January 2020

WIP Wednesday :: So many projects so little time!

I am happy to say that I have actually been sewing since the weekend.  I think unearthing some old projects gave me the motivation to get out of my sewing slump and achieve something.  I worked on two of the projects from my Projects to Finish list, but also added a few to the list too!!

The first one I worked on was the Baby Quilt from Samples.  Looking at the fabric that was left, I made another with leftover units from the sample and then decided to make 5 quick and easy bordered 9 patches.  Once I had decided that it really didn't take that long to piece them and then the quilt top.  Why did I leave it lingering for sooo long?  I think because the fabric isn't really me I wasn't grabbed by it.  But now that it is finished I see lots of possibilities for quilting.  I have no photos of this yet because it was a dark wet day when I finished it so rubbish for taking photos.

I think I am going to custom quilt this one using Pro-Stitcher.  It will be my first proper quilt to custom quilt and so will be a learning curve if nothing else.  I have wadding in my studio and I am sure I have backing I can piece for this, annoyingly it is 45" so normal width fabric is just too small, so it really shouldn't even go back on the shelf ...... watch this space!

The second quilt I worked on was my Black and Silver Jelly Roll quilt.  I pulled some black and silver fabric and thought I would add some 2" strips in the opposite direction on both ends of the quilt so that the thin red sashing wasn't on the edge of the quilt.  When I looked at it again I realised that I could use what I already had.

I unpicked 4 rows into the jelly roll portion and then simply turned it around so that the thin red strip was in the body of the quilt.  I have to say I hate redoing things - don't ask me why I would have preferred to have made piano key borders but it was actually so much quicker doing what I did and it really isn't that bad unpicking a little bit.  This is a head shift I need to make.

This quilt is going to have an E2E design quilted over it and I already know the one I am going to use.  The Pro-Stitcher library comes with loads of designs in it both designed by Handi Quilter and other designers aswell.  Saying that there are 1000s of designs out there that you can buy although I did say I wouldn't initially.  But you know how that goes right?  I saw this design being quilted out by a fellow longarmer and just loved it so I gave in!  I haven't quilted this yet and I am looking forward to it.  It is called More Square Drama from Wasatch Quilting.

So I am really happy to have two quilt tops ready to quilt .... and I am determined that they will not sit on the To Quilt Pile that I have.  A finish for Friday?  Probably not, but wouldn't it be great if they were both quilted to show you next Wednesday?!

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Project to Finish :: Baby Quit from Samples

In 2018 I did a Christmas QAL over on UKQU and before the block patterns were ready to go out I had to ensure they were right.  That involved a lovely group of pattern testers who were invaluable but before the patterns even got to them I had to make samples to see which blocks I liked the most in real life.

I found three of these sample blocks last week in a bag with the accompanying fabric pieces.  I have no idea where this fabric came from but I had teamed it with Kona White and obviously had plans for a baby or child quilt.  Hmmm 3 blocks doesn't really make a quilt now does it?

I have an idea for how to finish this and actually started cutting right away!  And you see those strips at the front?  They are for the binding.  I am so proud of myself because that is usually the hurdle I fall at and so have decided to get the binding made before I have even finished the quilt in the hope that then I will attach it straight away!

Hopefully there will be good progress on this in the upcoming days ....

For the full list of Projects to Finish head on over here!

Saturday, 18 January 2020

2020 - the year to get things finished!

I have a lot of projects on the go - are they still WIPs (works in progress) or are they UFOs (unfinished objects) and when does one become the other?!!  In recent years I have taken part in the Finish-Along but this year I think I am going to be accountable to myself (also I missed the deadline for Q1!).  As I go through my studio and find started projects I am going to list them to a page so at least they are documented and then I AM going make progress on them!!

The first one I found the other day was this jelly roll race quilt.  Several years ago my daughter asked for a black and white quilts with cats on.  I had never owned a jelly roll and when I saw one of blacks and silver I thought I would be able to quickly make up a quilt for her.  However, before the cats were appliqued on she had changed her mind!!

What to do with the resulting quilt?  I would not have used this fabric in this way if it hadn't been a quick quilt but I can't face unpicking it so I have decided to add a little more to the length and then get it quilted.  That can't take too long right?!

Thursday, 16 January 2020

2020 and beyond ....

Is 16 January too late to say Happy New Year?!  It feels I have been playing catch up since the start of the year having only arrived back in the UK form New Zealand at lunchtime on New Year's Day.  The subsequent jet lag and return to work and school and the time has just flown by.  Anyway .... I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season however you chose to celebrate it.  Ours was a low key, summer Kiwi, Christmas, in fact I kept forgetting Christmas was around the corner!

Pohutukawa, aka the New Zealand Christmas Tree
Due to our trip, I had very little time to reflect on the year just past or plan for the year ahead.  It is only now that I am beginning to get plans in place.  One thing I had decided on, before we returned, was to increase my fitness levels and so I have signed up for #walk1000miles, having been totally inspired by Fiona from The Sewing Directory.  I have made a good start but the weather, oh my don't get me started on how wet it is, is not playing nicely!!

I wish to build on my teaching and speaking this year, which I really enjoyed last year.  There will soon be a tab up there at the top of the page that will have all the details on it.  I do still have some space left in 2020 for talks and workshops so please do get in touch if that would be something you would be interested in for your group, Guild or Retreat.

I have updated my Calendar of Events, click here, where you can see where I am teaching, talking and which shows I am working at.  It would be lovely to see you at any event so do please say hi!

I have a LOT of fabric.  Now I know that's no great confession for a quilter, but when we moved 15 months I gave away approximately 20 bin bags full of fabric yet my studio is still bursting at the seams!!  I've realised that it's making me very unproductive in the sewing department and I need to do something about it.  Am I going to use it all?  That's what I have to really ask myself.  Some of the fabric has been back and forth across the world  a couple of times and I love it but ......... am I really going to use it?  My sewing has taken a totally different path from when I first started quilting and so decisions have to be made.  Watch this space maybe there will soon be a destash ....

One thing I have already started to do is to gather together all my WIPS, as and when I find them whilst I am sorting out the studio (and house and boxes!)  I am going to list them on a new page just for accountability and hopefully share progress with you over the coming weeks and months.  If I find that there has been no progress then maybe that will be the time to pass them on.

I also have set myself a challenge to not buy any more fabric, unless it is required to finish a project already started.  Oh that's made me a bit nervous now!!!  Isn't it funny that that should happen just because I stated an intention here?!!

My favoured drink for staff meetings for one!
Well let's hope that there's not so long between drinks until I am here again!

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Dream Big Quilting

In my last post I mentioned that I taught a Dream Big Quilting Panel and I thought I would share my samples with you.

I love these panels by Hoffman Fabrics and it felt so good to finally be quilting one.  Why do we buy something and then keep it for best?!  I think cutting the panel into quarters mentally made it easier.  When you look at the full panel there are a LOT of petals to fill, but once you are working on a quarter you can fill them pretty quickly

I did three samples each showing different techniques:   FMQ; grids and fill work; and feathers.

My first one was FMQ.  This was the first time I had done FMQ on my new Amara, which I have had since August.  That Pro-Stitcher has proved a big distraction and I am loving learning something new.  But FMQ really is my first love and after several months away it was wonderful to get back to it ...... and to see that I could still do it - result!

There are eight new to me designs in here and I just loved finally stitching them out after lots of drawing and doodling.  

This one, from Margaret Solomon Gunn's book,  I saw demonstrated by Kelly Ashton in the class I took at Handi Quilter Academy.  It has taken me a while to get it to flow but I love the result.  In the workshop I taught there was a mixed response to this and it was actually named the ugly pumpkin by one student!  But I love the versatility of it - once you have the muscle memory and travel path there a lots of variations you can do which all result in a very different end result.

This pattern also can be done with lots of variations and is a great filler for spaces.

This is a pattern I have seen Sea Sherilyn Sew quilt out on several videos and, whilst I have done it on some scrap pieces, this is the first time I have quilted it out properly - I love it!!!  You get such great texture and it is a very forgiving pattern once you've got it going.

The next sample is for the Grids and Fills section of the workshop:

The grids were made using a blue water soluble pen and Cindy Needham Stencils followed by rulerwork and/or fill.  I love plain grids and have used them on a few of my quilts before but it always amazes me how they change when you add fill.  Some before and afters shots for you:

Square grid plain

Square grid with matchstick fill

Diamond grid plain

Diamond grid with ribbon candy fill

Triangle grid plain

Triangle grid with cathedral window/orange peel fill

What a difference right?!

Then we move onto Feathers.  For those who have been following me a while, either here or on instagram, you will know that I don't quilt feathers that much on my quilts, but I have to say I do love actually quilting them!  I had a great time filling in the petals on my last sample:

I love the challenge of filling uneven spaces and used a variety of feather types and techniques.  This has me thinking that maybe I should do a wholecloth quilt with feathers - what do you think?!  Some microquilting in a couple of petal really shows the lovely 'poof' of using double batting, in this case Warm and Natural and wool.

This year has not seen many finishes, so I am really rather proud of starting and finishing these three samples in just over a week.  I do work well under pressure and due to making these at the last minute everything was still really fresh in my head for the workshop - you see there is a method to madness!

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Dream Big Quilting Workshop

Warning:  Photo heavy post - but hey, we all like quilting right so it's not a problem!!

So following on from my last two blog post, here and here, this is the final post about my recent week of teaching.

The picture above is one of Kelly Ashton quilts which I fell in love with as soon as I saw it online .... and even more so when I took a class with her at the Handi Quilter Academy in Salt Lake City in June.

The Dream Big Panels are made by Hoffman Fabrics and you can see the full range of colour ways here.  They are available from several distributors in the UK, although I am not sure you can get all of the colours over here.

I had a wonderful day teaching the 11 ladies who attended the workshop, both on stand up and sit down machines.  We talked about making conscious decisions in your quilting and discussed thread and wadding options so that you have the knowledge to choose the right ones in order to get the results you want to achieve.  We talked marking, FMQ, grids and fill and finally feathers.  It really was a full on day.

There was so much learning going on and it is wonderful to be party to those light bulb moments and see those spontaneous huge smiles when something clicks.

I thought I would share with you my students' work.  The concentration was palpable, confidence was increased and there was some incredible quilting going on!

Yet again I have to say it is such a joy to teach quilting!!

And when you receive feedback from your students it makes it all so much more worthwhile:

Can't wait to get teaching again in 2020!

Monday, 25 November 2019

Teaching Quilting - what a privilege!

Last week had a week of teaching at Pinhole Quilting in Pinvin, click here to see what I was teaching and the workshop descriptions.  I had such a fun, but very tiring, week!  It is a wonderful thing to be able to be with people as they start their longarm quilting journey and then to see them again and, hopefully, again and again!  I made new quilting friends, renewed friendships and all in all realised how lucky I am to be able to work in an industry that I love and that, generally, brings out the best in people!

Last Thursday was Improv Quilting and below are some progress pics from the day ...

We had black fabric and bright thread for the workshop which is a great teaching aid ....

because it shows up everything so that you can really see what you are quilting.

Students are encouraged to play with thread throughout the day because these machines can take anything from 12wt wool to 100wt silk!  Photo above and below is using Glide Glisten in Gold - lovely!

We started with one quilting motif and stitched it out in varying scales ...

We then added several more motifs ...

and then learnt techniques and designs to join them.

It was amazing to see people's confidence grow throughout the day and some great quilting was done.

The final day of teaching was a Dream Big Panel workshop but that will need to wait for another day and another blog post!

WIP Wednesday :: So many projects so little time!

I am happy to say that I have actually been sewing since the weekend.  I think unearthing some old projects gave me the motivation to get o...