Monday, 17 October 2016

October 2016

As this year was a birthday with an 0 for two Quirkies, we decided we would attend a workshop to celebrate. We went to Chichester to do Infinity Squares with Jan Hassard. It proved to be a challenge for all of us, but we persevered and have, or are on the way to, a spectacular quilt. Mine is not yet finished but here is progress so far.

Infinity Squares
I cannot decide if I want to make it bigger, this size would make a nice wall hanging. This picture does not do it justice, it is brighter 'in the flesh'.

Other projects include a bag for a fellow quilter, this was made as payment for transport to and from the workshop. The stipulation was that I make it entirely from stash fabric. I had to buy a long zip, but otherwise all the materials, fabric, wadding and lining, came from my stash. This is such a lovely bag, good size and fun to make. I have had a few hints for more!

Bee bag
I made a pair of table mats as a birthday present for a fellow quilter in America. I was pleased with these, I used the same template as the Milky Way table runner with a striped fabric. Had I had more striped fabric I would have made more mats.

Turtle table mats
Another finished quilt for Project Linus using animal squares surrounded by dots, with multicoloured half square triangles.
Africa 2 for Linus
I do enjoy making Linus quilts. This week I have been making a T-shirt one from some checks and stripes I got at our QoS trash sale. I added some fabrics from my stash to get a bit more colour, there is plenty left to make another or two. I made a small quilt from orphan blocks that were demonstration pieces for a Sampler quilt, and I have enough to make another small quilt. Several of us demonstrated the sampler blocks for our Quilting Group, Quilters of Sutton, as last years programme. It was a great success with everyone having a go.

Small sampler quilt - orphan blocks QAYG
As a result of the Sampler quilt demonstrations, I made some samples for demonstrating  'Quilt As You Go' techniques. I finished them off as table runners or hangings.

Three table runners
Small hanging
I made some small items for the Quilters Guild Festival of Quilts Tombola,

These three were zipped purses for the FOQ tombola
 and the Hever Quilt show for Region 2.

Elmore penguin pattern from Jennifer Jangles
Penguin mats pattern by Lynne Edwards
I have also been working on some projects for the Quilt Group, we are having a workshop for projects using Jellyrolls. 

Today I found some nice Christmas projects on You Tube from Crouton Crackerjacks, that I just have to try because they are so nice. 

As well as all this patchwork and quilting I have made three crochet blankets and a rather nice flower wreath. I cannot imagine why the whole world does not want to spend time crafting, there is so much pleasure to be had from making stuff, especially if it is practical as well as attractive.

Monday, 13 June 2016

June 2016 update

I seem to have been quite busy since the last post. I have made several bags, some Linus quilts, finished a workshop project and done a lot of crochet. I also replaced the poly-board in my block holder as it had not been the same since I put it on my chair and sat on it. The project I am most proud of is a stripy quilt I started in a Lillian Hedley workshop in Durham. Three of us attended in the summer of 2014, HW has got on well with her bed runner, must be nearly finished, but CB put hers away and has no plan to continue with it at the moment.

Stripy lap quilt 46 x 56 inches

I was given some batik fabric and a laser cut felt motif for my birthday, with matching beads. I decided something useful should be made from them. The result is this small shoulder bag with a matching purse. It measures 9 x 7 inches and is 1 inch deep.

Village bag

Another bag is from a pattern I have used before. I made it smaller this time as I was using up some leftover jelly roll strips that I had joined together and cut into 4.5 inch squares. I was going to use them in a Project Linus quilt until I noticed the bag I had made from 5 inch squares and changed my mind. I call it a Spot check bag - small as the previous one was a Spot check bag - large. At 16 x 12 x 8 inches this is a useful size. It is lined with a pink glazed fabric, probably poly-cotton, and has two inner pockets one zipped for security. 

Small Spot check bag

This is the first one I made at a class in 2013, it is a McCall's pattern with the addition of a zip. This also has inner pockets and a blue lining with tiny flowers. Size 18 x 13.5 x 9 inches it is big enough to use as a weekend bag. Both bags have a double layer of 5 mm poly-board covered to match the linings
Large Spot check bag

I have made some birthday presents for quilting friends, one hand quilted cushion cover as part of a set for a big birthday,

Barbara Chainey design cushion cover
and a table runner made using a Creative Grids template called Scrap Crazy 6 inch.

Milky way table runner

Project Linus quilts completed so far,

Africa 1

Bugs and numbers


Olympia blocks
The last one I brought home from the Knitting and Stitching show, at Olympia in March, as blocks made in the QGBI workshops. I stitched them together and added a border and fleece backing.

I have been crocheting hats, mittens and scarves for the Shoe box appeal as well as finishing a blanket, the yarn for which came as a Christmas present from my parents. I really enjoyed this project.

Persian tiles blanket, pattern by Janie Crow
Lots more bags made as fundraisers for the quilting group, as well as a few whimsical crochet bits - mice and goldfish - to be included in future projects.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

2015 Achievements

I find it a good idea to look back over the previous year to see what I have achieved. This gives me a focus for the aims of the coming year. I often feel I do not get around to doing very much, but a look at what I have been doing with my time is quite encouraging. I have been retired for 18 months now and as busy as ever. I still have not finished many of the projects on my list of things to tackle on retirement, but I am making progress.

This year saw the installation of a large new shed at the bottom of the garden and my husbands workshop has replaced the dilapidated garage near the house. If you are interested in this major work it can be viewed here. This change of plan meant we were able to keep the arbour, which saved a lot of manual labour. The loft is being sorted out and bits transferred to various boxes in the workshop or shed. We still have a fair bit of stuff on the patio that needs a home, but progress is being made slowly. As we had loads of construction timber stored on the lawn throughout the building process, it looks a right mess, so 2016 is a "Revive the garden" year as it has been a little neglected of late.

I still play badminton regularly, including matches for the mixed and ladies teams. My golf has improved marginally, I have been doing some Cardio tennis and I did a short course of Racquet ball. We also try to do a monthly walk with a group of my old work colleagues, many of whom are also retired.

Now on to the best bit, crafting. I have attended two more workshops since the last post, making a total of four this year. One with Sheena Norquay in Polegate called Fantasy Birds, this involved printing bird shapes in dots and curves, free machine trapunto and quilting. It is not yet complete but well under way as I have worked on it since the course. I need to print some borders to finish it.

Fantasy bird in progress
 The other was Hand Quilting with a Difference with Hazel Ryder and Terri Donaldson, run by Creative Quilting at Molesey, this one involved using hand embroidery stitches for quilting. The resulting sampler has also been worked on since and I hope to make it into a small wall hanging once I have finished the stitching. I used one of my hand dyed fabrics for this and am very pleased with the results so far.
QWD sampler in progress
I finished one of my listed UFO's. It was a clamshell quilt in fabric I bought at Hever from Creative Quilting. I started this one at evening classes. It is quilted with diagonal wavy lines in a variegated thread to match the clamshell colours.

I also made up a sample of Bargello into a wall hanging, this one for a friend who had admired the piece I made after the sample. We were both very pleased with the result.

Hanging from Bargello sample

Rainbow wave
Another finished project, that along with the Bargello quilts was started post retirement, is the red and white sampler quilt - bedsize. I exhibited this one at Hever 2015, it is so nice to see your large quilts hanging on a proper frame. This was machine pieced using a quilt as you go technique without backing.The backing was added after the borders were applied. the borders were hand quilted with a running feather pattern from a Lilian Hedley book. The blocks were quilted in the ditch next to the sashing.

Red and white sampler
I also completed a small sampler quilt for the QoS black and white challenge, you can view it here (halfway down the page). I keep saying, "Never again" to group block assembly, as they should all be the same size but never are!

I am making a quilt on a Communication theme (October post) for a Town Twinning exhibition to be held in Gagny, France, March 2016. Unfortunately the exhibition has had to be cancelled due to unforeseen problems booking the venue. A great disappointment for the organising group as well as those of us who have made a quilt. We are hoping to show the British quilts later in the year in the Sutton area.

Two quilts I started at workshops in previous years have also seen progress this year. A Ferret workshop undertaken in the summer of 2013 has the central panel and two borders completed, a third border is in progress. I changed the design slightly from the original, I added corner units to the borders. I decided to quilt these separately, making the construction a bit more complicated. It will be worth it as I like the design much more. I also decided to use the fabric I had dyed for the border back as the front, it was more interesting and contrasts with the central panel. I used the original dyed fabric in the corners. This means it no longer looks like a wholecloth quilt, but I think it is a lot more visually interesting.
Ferret in progress

Ferret corner detail
The second is the result of a workshop with Lilian Hedley from the summer of 2014. This is a traditional style stripy quilt. It has five panels, Three panels completed and sewn together, and a fourth started.   
Stripy in progress
I also made quite a few bits and pieces as fundraising items for the QoS group, including these little fairies.

I made birthday gifts for the Quirkies.

Crochet bag present

Front peg bag present

Back peg bag
I have also been crocheting, several blankets, some for myself and more for Romania, see one here (September post). I also crocheted some more Christmas decorations comprising of an elf, another wreath, a snowflake garland, Christmas tree (for the festive workshop) and some holly bunting. I took pictures but most are too blurred to post and the originals have gone back to the loft. 

Christmas Elf
The patterns came from Issue 38 of Simply Crochet. I do find this magazine inspirational,  I do not have a subscription, I buy it if enough of the projects are appealing. Try Attic24 for some crochet inspiration, this blog is heart warming reading. I also completed knitting a cardigan, it was on the go for about 15 years and still fits.

I bought a template from Creative Grids - 6 inch Scrap Crazy - and made up sample blocks from my scrap bag. Very nice too. Now need to get around to over-dying the fabric I want to use it for.

12 inch Scrap blocks

 It was my parents 60th Wedding Anniversary this year. So I helped Dad organise a party for family and friends and made some table decorations from artificial flowers. My niece organised a telegram from the Queen, which was framed and hangs proudly in their living room. Everyone enjoyed themselves.

Well that about sums up 2015 achievements, this post does not include all the projects I have done this past year, as some have been documented in previous posts. If you have read this far I would like to thank you for your interest and wish you a happy and productive 2016.