Thursday, 27 September 2018

Teeny tiny piecing - but oh so cute!!

Have you seen the scrap busting sewalong that Sugar Bowl Crafts are running at the moment?  If not maybe you should check out the #scrapbustingsewalong over on IG.  It's a great way to use up some of your scraps with the added bonus of a challenge each week.

Week 1 was how many squares can you fit in a 5" block - the answer for me was 100!  And I am totally in love ....

This was done by using interfacing to stick the squares too and then sewing along the columns followed by sewing along the rows.  I didn't have any gridded fusible so I used some dressmaking interfacing from years ago, which kind of worked but is a bit rough and ready.  I now have some gridded fusible and want to make another one or two or three ....

Week 2 was how many triangles can you fit in a 5" square?  I got all my bonus (scrap) HSTs out but then had to clear the decks to do something that actually pays the bills!!

Week 3 was Log Cabin blocks and although technically I am late, a new challenge is released each Thursday, I am going to call this done for Week 3 ....

Again I am totally in love!!  So much so that I knew before I had made this that I would want to make more so drafted a FPP template in EQ7.  I have it available as free pdf download so if you want to go teeny tiny to then the template is all done for you!!

Click here to download the Foundation Paper Pieced Template for cut&alter 5" Log Cabin - please do let me know if you have trouble downloading this because I am never sure whether I have done it right!

If you do use this then I would love to see what you make so be sure to tag me @cutandalter and use #cutandalterpatterns

Now I have to go and see what this week's challange is ......

Friday, 21 September 2018

365 Free Motion Quilt Designs - A Book Review

I had been eyeing up Leah Day's 365 Free Motion Quilt Designs for a while now and so was very happy to review a copy!  It is available through Search Press or on Amazon and also comes in a perpetual calendar form.

This book is not a reading book but rather a picture book - and what pretty pictures it has in it.  For the how tos on each of the designs you need to go to Leah Day's quilting design gallery where you will find short videos demonstrating each design.  These are really interesting to watch because sometimes the path of travel is not what you might think!

Do you really need 365 designs in your repertoire?  In all honesty you don't, in fact if you can master half a dozen designs, then the variations you can do on them and different scales you can use will probably be what you use the most.  But this book gives so many different options.  Since starting my longarm quilting journey and talking to numerous quilters from around the world I have realised that people generally have several quilting designs that they have a natural talent for, ie it comes easily to them.  My advice would be to play to your strengths and expand from there.  Designs 1 to 7 in this book might be your natural talents, your friend might favour numbers 8 to 15, and so on.  It is a great book to look and doodle from and given a little time you will soon find what designs work for you and take it from there.

You can see from the photos below how one design, Day 7 Echo Rainbow, can look very different depending on the size and curve of the initial arch.

You will also notice that certain individual designs belong to families of design, for example if you can quilt a paisley design then it won't take you much to be able to quilt the designs below.  They all use the same path of travel and the muscle memory you built up whilst learning to quilt a paisley design will soon kick in for these.  

Whilst all similar they will all give a very different finish on your block or quilt and a number of options for your quilting toolbox.

All of the designs are available for free online, at the link posted above, but I think the book is a great resource to have if you are interested in FMQ.  It has lots of designs in one place, it is easy to bookmark, it is easy to have on the table whilst doodling or quilting, in fact that is a real plus.  Although this book is not spiral bound it does lay nice and flat and remains open whilst you use it.

Having received this book during the summer holidays and then settling the girls into new schools and routines a couple of weeks ago, I have been frustrated that I haven't been able to stitch any of these out yet.  I have done lots of doodling so hopefully that will put me in good stead for when I can get to my machine .... fingers crossed at some stage next week.  So pop back if you fancy seeing how I got on using some of these designs.

If you are interested in getting yourself a copy it is available through Search Press or on Amazon and also comes in a perpetual calendar form.

The original idea was for 365 designs - but Leah hasn't stopped there!  To date there are 499 designs - to see them all head on over here.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Upcoming Teaching Schedule

This year has seen me starting to teach and I am delighted to share my upcoming schedule with you.

First up, I will be teaching some sessions for Pinhole Quilting at their Foundation Longarm and Intermediate Longarm Workshops on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 October 2018.  

These courses are aimed at getting new and existing Handi Quilter owners really confident with using their machines and cover the all important TNT - threads, needles and tension, through to design, FMQ, rulerowork, marking a quilt, feathers and a lot more besides.  There are still a couple of places left so head on over to their booking page for more details if you are interested.  Whilst these two courses are aimed at Hand Quilter owners Pinhole Quilting does offer other activities for people who have other makes of longarm machines.

Next up, I will be teaching a Quilt Finishing School at The Quilter's Den in Warwick on Saturday 10 November.  The Quilter's Den is under new ownership and I was delighted to be asked to teach by Karen.  This workshop is for anyone who lovingly finishes their quilt tops but then puts them up on a shelf, under the bed, in a cupboard (delete as applicable!) and who would like to get them finished!  

We will be covering:
  • how to prepare your quilt for quilting
  • needles, threads and wadding
  • marking your quilt
  • quilting design
  • walking foot quilting 
  • free motion quilting.

If you like the sound of this then please do visit the booking page.  

If it sounds interesting, but you are unable to make this date then I am able to run this day course at any venue.  I am happy to talk about running this course in a group setting, at a retreat or even just for a day where you get a group of friends together.  Please do contact me via the contact form on the home page and we can see what we can work out.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

cut&alter Christmas 18 QAL :: Week 1

..... and it's started Week 1's instruction have just been mailed out.

I am looking forward to seeing what fabrics people choose!

What's it all about?  Head over here to see ....

Want to join in?  Get the pattern over here ....

Saturday, 1 September 2018

cut&alter Christmas 18 QAL :: it's nearly here!

Can we talk Christmas now that it's September?!!  

During that rather long heatwave we had in the UK this summer the cut&alter Christmas 18 QAL was launched.  The timing couldn't have been worse but now the summer holidays are coming to an end, the temperatures are dropping (hooray I can finally sleep under my duvet again!) and the days are getting shorter.  If you have yet to decide on your next project or would like to make a Christmas Quilt (in time for Christmas 2018!) then it would be great to have you join my QAL.

Finished quilt made in Makower Silent Night fabric

The QAL starts next week on Wednesday , 05 September, with a general introduction, fabric selection and cutting.  Then there is a Block a Week for 9 weeks followed by sashing, borders, basting and quilting with several catch up weeks included, because we all know that life can get in the way of quilting - isn't it so annoying when that happens?!  We finish on Wednesday 12 December with, fingers crossed, a lovely quilt ready in time for Christmas.

I love the house fabric from this range

There'll be lots of skills to learn or build on, a lovely group of quilters. maybe some random prizes and, of course, a quilt at the end of it - what more do you need?  The pattern can be purchased from my UKQU shop, upon which further information and a full schedule will be sent straight to you - make sure that email address is correct!  Then each week that week's pattern and instructions will be sent direct to your inbox.  If you don't want to make the whole quilt but like the look of a block or two then standalone patterns for each block will be released each week throughout the QAL.  These will be available to purchase in my shop.

Whilst I made my quilt from the Makower Silent Night range of fabrics, which The Cotton Patch have kitted up for this QAL, it can, of course, be made in any fabric - seasonal or not.  My pattern testers had free rein over their fabric choices and it was fantastic to see the blocks coming to life in different fabrics.

These blocks, made by Kim, show a different layout and a different block from the finished article.  They were test blocks after all and I did make some changes!

Tandy also made up all the blocks and these will give you an idea of the quilt in non seasonal fabric.

The pattern testers were invaluable for this process and I would like to thank each and every one - so a BIG thank you to Kim, Sue, Tandy, Rebecca, Tracey, Amy, Anneliese and Sarah.

For further information please head over to my Launch Post and if you have any question please just ask!


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