Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Festival of Quilts :: A year on ....

↓↓↓  For big news scroll down  ↓↓↓


Yesterday I dropped my show entries at the NEC for Festival of Quilts 2018.  It is always so funny to see it empty - a far cry from what it will look like on Thursday morning!


When I got home, my daughters said they remembered going there last year with their dad to drop my quilt.  It took me a little while to remember why they had gone and not me ..... oh that's right I had the little matter of a quilt to finish for the In the Spotlight Gallery, which I didn't have to hand in until the Tuesday evening and so it wasn't finished until the Tuesday lunchtime!

Where to Next?  in progress


I love quilting words onto quilts

I can't believe it's been a year already and soooo much has happened.  Last Festival was my first time demonstrating on the Handi Quilter longarm machines for Pinhole Quilting. Whilst I knew and loved my machine, I have to admit to being somewhat nervous at the thought of setting up and demonstrating at such a big show.  I needn't  have worried I really enjoyed the experience and signed up for more!  

My trusty Handi Quilter Avante - I love it!!


So I am back again this year and not only demonstrating.  A couple of weeks ago I received great news ..... 

I HAVE BEEN MADE A 
HANDI QUILTER EDUCATOR 
- ONE OF ONLY TWO IN THE UK!!!!!  

I am thrilled.  I have started teaching at the Foundation and Intermediate classes run by Pinhole Quilting for their Handi Quilter owners and I love it.  It has been fabulous to help these people on their own longarm journey, which actually never stops, and to see that 'ah-ha' moment when something really clicks.  Further teaching news will be up here shortly!

I have met some wonderful American HQ Educators and Ambassadors over the last year, Debbie Brown at FoQ 17, Laurie Tigner last November when she taught 4 days of classes in Worcester, and Kimmy Brunner and Kelly Cline, who were the tutors at the UK's first Longarm Quilting Academy held in February.  It was a pleasure to be the classroom assistant for their sessions and I learnt so much.  I would highly recommend any of the teachers above if you ever get the chance to take a class with them.

I have written my first quilt pattern, which is available over here, and I am running a QAL for it starting on 05 September - wow that's only 4 weeks away!!!!


On the family front, we have done our first full academic year of school, after years of home education ..... and we survived!  There were lots of sporting fixtures, a Y6 residential for a week to North Wales when there was still snow on the ground, productions, SATs, leavers activities and much more.  It has been wonderful to see how the girls have settled into school and made great friends.  My youngest goes up to secondary school in September so we have more big changes coming our way!

It is always good to look back at what you have done because more often than not, whilst you are in the midst of it, you don't really appreciate all that you have achieved.  I am looking forward to September and the start of a 'new year' to refocus after this hot, hot summer, make plans and put some long held ideas into practice.  I hope you will join me! x

Friday, 13 July 2018

create your own improv quilts - A Book Review


Wow - what a book!  I have to say I sat and read this whole book over a weekend and am including in my book tally for 2018 because of that.  I do mean read - this is much more than a pattern book and is the first time I have read such a book from cover to cover.  You could also dip in and out of it but I think you may want to read it all.

I have been drawn to the improv quilting style over the last couple of years but have still to relinquish control and go for it!  It is hard coming from an engineering background and loving the perfection of perfect points to let go of the rulers and measuring and to not match seams!  I also thought that improv should surely be improv - you don't get it from a book do you?  Well I was wrong and, as I said, this is much more than a how to book.  


The subtitle is Modern Quilting with No Rules and No Rulers which is just perfect.  Rayna explores some of those 'rules' that have sprung up around Modern Quilting, such as no batiks are to be used in a  modern quilt, the use of highly patterned fabric over all solids and even improv paper piecing - a contradiction in terms surely?!

There are several technique sections which talk you through the process and give you exercises to do to get you improv quilting.  As a newcomer to this technique, I think they would prove very useful and the great thing about this is that a whole group of people could be given the same fabric and technique and the resulting pieces would all be unique.


There are lots of quilts to look at, both Rayna's and other quilters and towards the back there is a gallery containing information on others such as Catherine Whall Smith, Cindy Griselda and Debbie Anderson to name a few.  Rayna talks about her inspiration and as I am someone who sees quilts in almost every thing I see I totally get that.  I have not yet translated these thoughts or visions to fabric but this book has really sparked something in me.


In fact, before I even finished reading the book, I went and searched through my drawers of scrap fabrics and found some scrappy improv pieced blocks which were, one day in the very distant future, destined to a scrap vortex quilt.  However, I now realised I could do something different with them and taking huge inspiration from this piece of Rayna's, I set to with putting them on my design board and then started to fill around the edges with white Kona.


I had a most enjoyable few hours over a couple of day and LOVED the process - then real life and prior deadlines called and it has been at this stage ever since.

create your own improv quilts by Rayna Gillman is published by C&T Publishing and is available from Search Press or Amazon and if you haven't realised by reading this review I would DEFINITELY recommend it for anyone who may be interested in improv quilting or who is looking for some inspiration for their next quilt.

Monday, 2 July 2018

cut&alter Christmas 18 Quilt Along is live!!

I have been working on some secret sewing for the past couple of months and all can now be revealed ....


The timing is incredibly inopportune because, during one of the longest heatwaves that I can remember, I am launching a Christmas Quilt Along!!


The actual launch day was last Wednesday and you can read all about over here.


The pattern has been released in my UKQU shop - head on over to have a look!  
There is an early bird discount of 20% until the end of July, and any purchase in a UKQU shop until that time automatically gets entered into a giveaway for a copy of the latest EQ8.


To celebrate the launch of my first pattern over at UKQU, I am running a competition.  
For the chance to win a copy of the pattern, full access to the QAL and a fabric bundle from the Silent Night range by Makower, who kindly provided the fabric for this project, then head on over here.  
The competition runs until Wednesday 04 July 2018.


The full details can also be found at the tab at the top of the page - CHRISTMAS 18 QAL.

I would love it if you could join me and, of course, it doesn't have to be a Christmas Quilt it can be made in any fabric you choose.  I will have some examples shortly so stay tuned! x

Monday, 25 June 2018

cut&alter Christmas 18 Quilt Along

So we are due a heatwave this week and here I am putting up a holly wreath picture!!  

I've been working hard getting a quilt ready for a Quilt Along starting in September.  The pattern release is this Wednesday, 27 June 2018, and should you wish to use the fabric I have made it in, the gorgeous Silent Night range by Makower, then fabric kits are also going to be available from Wednesday, from The Cotton Patch.

For more information head on over to the UKQU website where my latest post will tell you more .....

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Stitched Textiles: Nature - A Book Review

Well it certainly has been a long time since I have been here - where does the time go?  I have not been sitting idle it's just most of the day to day things get posted to Instagram and then I run out of hours in the day to write a blog post .... sound familiar? 


A recent fun day out was to the Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall.  I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie Redfern and seeing her gorgeous work and so I am delighted to have got my hands on her book Stitched Textiles: Nature, which was released in April by Search Press.


The book covers the materials Stephanie uses in her work, which she describes as textile- and mixed-media-based, design and inspiration and process and practice.  Having been drawn into her stand at the Fair by her wonderful appliqued art it has been great to read about how she goes about the process of creating a piece.  I do not come from an art background and so I am always interested in how other people create especially with paints and printing.




The chapter Themes contains more inspiration ideas and design advice and step by step projects.  I haven't had the time to get started on one of these yet but have decided that it will be a summer project with my daughter once the summer holidays have started.


In summary, I think this book has a great balance between detailed how to and more general design  information which could lead you down your own path to creating truly unique textile art.  I have been really inspired to seek out natural images from when we lived in New Zealand and to begin to use them in some art pieces.  It may be some time before they appear so don't hold your breath!

If you are interested in finding out more about Stephanie's work she is running a two day workshop at the RBSA in Birmingham at the end of August - sadly I am already busy that weekend otherwise I would have signed up straight away!
















Wednesday, 18 April 2018

FALQ2 :: My list ....

Well I am just sneaking in under the deadline for my Quarter 2 Finish-A-Long list and I hate to say that I only finished two items on it before the end of March (and forgot to link these up) and so I have literally just rolled over the whole list!!!  Is that even allowed??!!

1.  This was secret sewing at the start of the year but it not secret any more - in fact you can see the almost finished item here.  This remains on the list because it needs rebinding ...... I am going to take of the binding I put on and finish it with facing - and hopefully I will be much happier with that edge treatment!


2.  UK Travelling Quilt Bee - I want to make some more blocks for this before piecing the top and finishing - progress has been made on this but some blocks still need to be made before the top can be fully pieced.


3.  Christmas Quilt - only needs the binding done


4.  Charley Harper Hummingbird Quilt - to be bound.  I did bind this last quarter but my machine and me were not working very well that day so I unpicked it that night and it still remains in the to finish pile!


5.  Villa Quilt from Gloria Loughman class - to finish facing


6.  Hexagon rosette - to become a cushion


7.  Stash Bee '16 and '17 quilt - this is now quilted but still waiting for the binding


8.  Low Volume Scrappy Quilt - this has been started but has taken a very different turn - photos and story soon


9.  Union Jack Flag - to finish assembly and decide what it will become


10.  Summer Sampler '16 - to decide whether to make more blocks and layout then finish


11. Christmas Tree Wallhanging - to fuse in place, quilt and bind


12.  Quiet Play Sewing Machine - to finish paper piecing and decide what to use it for


13. Polaroid Blocks - extra blocks to be made into a quilt for charity



14.  Back to Front - to finish front, quilt and bind


15.  Crocheted Heaxgons - what am I going to do with these?


16.  Black and grey quilt - started for daughter who changed her mind - need to decide what to do with it


17.  Birthday Bunting


18.  Project Linus Quilt - to be quilted


19.  Italian House - sample from Gillian Travis class in 2016!


20.  Illuminated Houses - from a class with Anne Moore - first one was gifted so I want one for myself!


21.  Caravan Tote by noodlehead


Phew!  There are a group of international hosts for this event and you can link up with any of them to join in the fun.

What the Judges said ....... Pt 1

Last year I joined in with the wonderful Sewcial Bee Sampler SAL hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland.  


Whilst I was making this quilt, with a limited palette of Kona solids, I did quite a bit of unpicking! The solid fabrics were rather unforgiving when points didn't line up so I came up with a new practice - if required, I would unpick twice and the third time, whether perfect or not, the seam would stay.

 

I think limiting myself two only unpicking twice saved my sanity!






I entered Wasabi on the Side into the British Quilt and Stitch Village show last weekend and was pleased to read the Judges' comments. It was obviously worth the time to unpick when needed because both Judges gave me an EXCELLENT for 'Quality of Construction - Piecing' along with EXCELLENTS for 'Quality of Execution' and 'Borders, Edge Treatment, Finishing and Hanging'.

I love the texture the matchstick quilting gives this quilt and remember how I was surprised at how long it took to quilt!



Festival of Quilts :: A year on ....

↓↓↓  For big news scroll down  ↓↓↓ Yesterday I dropped my show entries at the NEC for Festival of Quilts 2018.  It is always so fun...