Wednesday, April 29, 2009


There is actually quite a bit of sewing going on here at the moment! Carried along by the momentum of finishing the Sunflower quilt I also finished adding the sashing to my Quiltalong sampler. I need to be extra creative when it comes to piecing the backing, though, as I haven't got any large enough pieces of any of the fabrics to follow the directions. I think I have worked out how to do it though, and while my mind is mulling over this, I have unearthed another UFO to try my hand at some machine trapunto, now where did I put that water soluble thread?
And there is another project I'm just dying to start...
It must be Spring Fever or something! There seem to be so many ideas buzzing around in my head these days that I don't know where to go next. So maybe I should just take a deep breath, and try to focus. This might be a good time to get started on a craft journal, just to get all those ideas down on paper before they drift off again. Or is starting a journal just another project that should wait in line until I have finished some of these quilts?
There won't be any more sewing until Friday anyway, as tomorrow there's a stitch'n'bitch night at the quiltshop. I'd better get some handsewing together to bring along for that!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunflower quilt

Here it is: My Sunflower quilt. I don't know why I had such trouble getting photos of this one, although it is a bit larger than the ones I normally make. But this morning I took it outside and put it on the clothesline. As luck would have it, it is a windy day, so there would inevitably be some movement in the pictures, but I set my camera to the "Sports"-setting and snapped away. I have tweaked it a bit in Photoshop to make it look straighter - that old saggy clothesline needs replacing... - and to get rid of some of the grayness in the photo. (I haven't mastered Photoshop yet - there's another project. I might have to get one of those "...for Dummies" books or something, but that's for another day. Back to the quilt.) Those who have been passing by during the last year, might remember that it came from this book. The size is 90 x 64" and the Sunflower fabric is from Valori Wells' Sole collection. I started it with the hope of finishing it during my summer holidays last year, but I was stumped when it came to choosing fabric for the border, and I lost some of my momentum. Then some other projects got in the way, as they tend to do here, and the top languished for ever. When I eventually got around to quilting it I was enamoured by quilts with lots of texture to them, i.e. heavily quilted ones, so I started out with lots of stippling on the sunflower-blocks. Then of course, I needed a lot of quilting on the courthouse step blocks too, and chose to do those in wavy lines.

I must admit that I have regretted this more than once, because that was a lot of quilting! But I took it one block at a time (the block size is 18"!) and eventually it was done. I've been struggling with a cold this past week, and spending hours on the sofa watching movies and stitching what felt like miles of binding while keeping warm underneath the quilt was just the thing. It is surprisingly soft, by the way, in spite of all the quilting, so this will be my favourite nap quilt for a while. I have so many of them that I really ought to start taking more naps ;-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Look at what the mailman brought yesterday! It's not my birthday, and it is not a gift. But it certainly looks like one. It is actually my first order from SewMamaSew. I had been looking for some Alexander Henry Fabric, and after reading Kristin's review of Anna Maria Horner's Multi Tasker Tote pattern, I knew this was a pattern I couldn't live without. So I did a bit of "research" (or shopping, as some call it) and ended up finding everything in one place. And look how beautifully it was presented: fabric and pattern neatly folded, bound with twill tape and wrapped in cellophane. I could hardly bear to open it at first!Looks quite tempting, doesn't it? And of course I couldn't contain my excitement for long, and before I knew it I had torn the whole thing apart!

There's lots of fun to be had here. Those funny cars will go well with my London Map-fabric and will become a handbag soon (one of the 4,5,6 I think I "need" to make...). And that multi-coloured polka dot - swoon! Too bad they only had half a yard left - I shall have to use it well!

I felt I deserved a little shopping spree now, having done so much sewing lately. I even finished my Sunflower Quilt!
Sorry for leaving you with this little teaser for now. I'll see if I can take it outside to take pictures tomorrow - it's really too big to get an undistorted photo by spreading it on the floor, so I shall have to find a place to hang it up.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

UFO drive

I've been on a bit of a roll here, finishing some bits and pieces that have been loitering about, doing nothing to earn their keep. It was a question of kicking them out or letting them make themselves useful. Take this one (above), for instance: it started life as a test block to learn the techniques when I was working on this. I kept coming across it whenever I moved things about, reminding me that it was still there and wanting a bit of attention. A few free-form triangles and strips later, and it has become a small table topper.
And remember this? I tried out the disappearing nine-patch technique a while back, and finished the top quickly enough, but didn't have any batting handy and that was that. Forgot all about it. Until I came across this post when loking for something else. So the blog is making itself useful from time to time, as a record from myself to myself about what I'm working on... Well, the batting was at hand this time, and I just did some very light quilting - wavy lines with variegated thread, to keep it soft, and there's a new tablecloth!

And this one. I mentioned it a few posts back. Here it is with the binding all finished - a small table topper for someone. This one has a really pretty backing fabric too, so it could be a two for one :-)

Yes, they definitely feel more useful now, all three of them. And I feel lighter, somehow. Free to move on to something new...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Like mother like daughter?

My mother doesn't quite get this quilting bug of mine. Whenever I start a new project I'm met with questions of "What is it for?", "Who is it for?" or the most annoying one: "But have you finished... (insert description of whichever quilt I was working on last week)yet?"
The idea of working on several projects at once is very foreign to her.
Maybe it is her Virgo personality? Apparently this is the theory that her group of "old girls" came up with when they got together for a bit of Stitch'n'bitch last night. The reason for this discussion was her trying to choose which project to stitch next.
For years I have been visiting the lovely Ehrman shop in Kensington whenever I have been in London, and almost every time I have left with a pretty bag containing a new kit. Now tapestry has turned out not to be my kind of thing, and my mum has taken pity on the kits languishing in my stash. This lovely cushion was ready just in time for Easter and has pride of place in my sofa, next to this one. She was very keen to stitch another one, and got to take two more kits home with her last week. Last night, as she was trying to decide which one to stitch first, it was her horrified expression when one of her friends suggested that she could switch between the two kits as her mood decided that started the discussion, I'm told. So is there anything in that theory? Are Virgos more likely to finish one project before they start another one? Not that it matters. I'm just grateful that she is willing to finish these kits for me so I get lovely colourful cushions to grace my sofas :-)
Well done Mum, and thank you from your headstrong Scorpio daughter.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Originally uploaded by crafty mathea
The fabric I wanted to audition for sashing finally arrived. That is, it arrived at the post office before Easter and I couldn't get at it before today. Arrgh! But here it is finally, and I think I prefer this to white. White would give it a cool crisp look, but everyhing would show up on it, I think, and I would have to keep washing it all the time. This seems much more practical. I like that it looks like denim while it is soft and lightweight.

I have seen a few quilts made from old jeans and they tend to be really heavy, so that's not what I wanted. But this still reminds me of my old favourite jeans patched with bits and pieces of floral fabric along the way - no gaping holes in my jeans thank you - I caught the tail end of the hippie era as I was entering my teen years, and have a bit of nostalgia for that style.

Friday, April 10, 2009

UFOs coming in to land

All this tidying up has unearthed a few UFOs. Now I'm all for abandoning old projects that no longer give you a thrill, but here was a finished top for a tablecloth, just in need of a bit of quilting and a leftover from a class from ages ago in colours I loved. So a few hours in the sewing room today, and the tablecloth is quilted and just needs binding and it's done.

The other piece was originally meant to be a table runner, started in a class where we practised sewing wavy seams. I just added a couple of wavy pieces and a few borders, and I'm left with, not a table runner, but a small table topper. And an almost finished one at that. Not bad for half a day's work, is it?
Tomorrow there is more quilting on the sunflower quilt (heard that one before?) - it IS coming along nicely, so I should have a finshed quilt to show you all soon. And I haven't abandoned the quiltalong-quilt, but wouldn't you know it: the fabric I have been waiting for has arrived, but the post office is closed until Tuesday :-(
Oh well, I have plenty of other things to work on, so I'll be fine. And holidays are also about meeting up with friends and family, so there's plenty going on. I've just come back from a family do, in fact - my oldest nephew's 20th birthday. He still wants his old aunties there, the dear boy, so of course we all gather to exclaim about how grown up he is and how time has flied and how sweet he was as a baby, and how it seems like only yesterday. He loves the attention, really, as long as none of his mates get to hear any of it... ;-)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Stitching along, singing a song...

All done! All my 36 blocks for the quilt-along, that is. I'm waiting for the postman to bring me some sashing fabric (little does he know...), so I might have to wait until after Easter, but I have plenty to do while I waiting, so no problem there ;-) This is probably the neatest, most organized quilt project I have ever worked on, and I have tried out several methods that were new to me. I decided in the beginning that if I was going to take part in this, I would do it properly, follow instructions and read everything carefully and I'm glad I did! My slap dash ways have worked fine for me in the past, and while I don't see myself getting everything quite so sorted out on any project anytime soon, I have learned a lot.

As I mentioned, opening up the seams was one new revelation. It does take more time (for me, anyway...) than pressing the seam allowances to one side, and there was quite a good discussion on the pros and cons along the way. I found that while I was doing these court house step blocks that I would get the previous seam allowances messed up on the next round, and have to go back and try to get them to lie down again (probably doing it wrong...), but the final pressing from the front made everything OK, and as a result I have ended up with a stack of very neat and flat blocks. I'm not sure I will do that on my next quilt - it depends on how much in a hurry I am, but I do get the point! How about you? Press to one side or open up?

Here are some more of my blocks. To see the rest, have a look in my Flickr album and to see all the other lovely quilts being made, in the Mod Sampler pool. And do have a look at the tutorials! Elisabeth has put so much information in there, with very clear photos and instructions - I'd recommend this to any novice quilters out there!