Monday, 31 January 2011

Houses, Rust n Holes in Hearts

This week on my design wall floor:

village on design floor

Now that I have finished Gman's quilt top, it's time to turn to Waif's. The planned layout is a strip of wonky fences, then house blocks, then more wonky fences, more houses, lastly a strip of wonky fences. So I can see from laying it out that I need to make a load more fences. Then I can sew the middle together and see what I need in the way of borders.

I've made a start on my next Christmas present for Allie's Christmas Through the Year. It's going to be made into a name panel for my nephew Ewan. I am just loving this crazy swirly orange fabric:


I have also had some fun rust dyeing a few bits and pieces for my next journal quilt. I collected together some random fabrics - white patterned quilting cotton, wadding, open weave cotton, ricrac and lace - laid them in an old washing up bowl and covered with random rusty stuff - old washers, nails, a toy car, plus some steel wool:

2 artefacts added

Next, five year old Waif enjoyed spraying them with a mixture of vinegar and water:

3 spraying with vinegar mix

Then we placed the tray in a bin bag, weighted down with some books and left overnight.

Next day, we had an assortment of rust dyed fabrics to play with:

4 after
5 after close up lace
6 rusty stuff on the line (1)

To set the dye, we soaked in a salt water mix, then washed as usual.

I was disappointed with the quilting cotton, this didn't really take on much of the rust but just LOVE the effect on the open weave cotton, the wadding and the lace.

I am going to integrate some of these pieces into my next journal quilt, which I have made a start on:
february wip

You might also notice the holey burnt hearts. Yes, I have a new toy - a heat gun :-). Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Christmas Through the Year - First Finish

Thanks to Allie, I have been motivated to start making Christmas presents early for this year!

And on 25th January, 11 months ahead of time, I completed this:

Lily finished

It's a name panel for my youngest niece. Here's the back, showing a hanging sleeve so she can put it on her door, her wall, or wherever:

back of lily

I hope she likes it.

As this was such a small piece, I was able to quilt by machine and thanks to a top tip from my mum, was able to quilt a pattern onto the black fabric without having to mark. You trace your pattern onto greaseproof paper, pin that onto the quilt then just sew right throught it. When you're done, you can just tear it away. How cool is that?

close up greaseprooflily with greaseproof

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

"Liberation in Pink" - January Journal Quilt Completed

Liberation in Pink

Here it is - my completed journal quilt for January 2011. I promised the story behind my choices, and an explanation of the pink here it is...

I have always had a bit of a "thing" about pink. I mean a negative feeling about it. It stems, I think, from my feminist youth. By the tender age of 14, I had read The Female Eunuch, The Feminine Mystique and (as my mum may fondly (ahem) recall) the Christmas I was 15 I spent most of the holiday reading Andrea Dworkin's "Pornography". Although my feminist viewpoint has softened somewhat over the years - a combination perhaps of pragmatism and motherhood ;-) I still am not at all comfortable with fluffy, stereotyped girliness. Which brings me to the pink. I am appalled by the whole putrid, pink, Disneyfied version of what constitutes girlhood today. I feel relieved to have two sons because this is not what I would want for any daughter of mine. It seems to me that we are putting our girls into a kind of commercially driven pink straightjacket and to quote a favourite phrase of my son's, it's "yuckyuckyuck".

So why have I made this quilt in pink?

Well, when I was showing my Jacob's Ladder to a friend, I commented that I was quite surprised by how much pink had crept in there, and more than that, I was surprised by how much I liked the pink, and how I felt it lifted the quilt. She gently pointed out that a few of things I have made recently seem to have contained a bit of pink. I mulled this over and thought - "Right, that's it. I am going to do pink!" I am not going to be cowed by its negative connotations. I am going to celebrate it. Pink - I am going to own you.

So here it is: me doing pink. The technique for this first journal quilt was "liberated" so it seemed very fitting to be liberating pink. This is pink on my terms and it's liberated. Hence the crosses under the buttons, turning them into the universal symbol for woman.

So now you know :-). It's pink, but it's my pink. I can do pink and still be a strong creative woman.

I hope my friend J likes the quilt and I look forward to seeing hers.

On the subject of journal quilts, I discovered the 3creativestudios blog this week and was excited to see that they are "doing" journal quilts this year. I am going to be entering mine into the flickr group each month, with the chance of winning a pack of hand dyed fat quarters! I am also looking forward to being inspired by others' journal quilts. I think this is such a fabulous way of trying out new ideas and techniques. I'm already looking forward to February's journal quilt - technique to try is "woven".

Over and out xx

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Hand Quilting Conveyor Belt

Well, this weekend has been a sore fingered, achey back and goggle eyed sort of event...

On Saturday, I finally finished quilting my Jacob's Ladder top, and it looks something like this:

jacobs ladder quilted

and closer up like this:

jacobs ladder quilting close up

All that remains now is to bind it. I had thought I might do scrappy binding but not so sure now. I think I would prefer it with a single colour and I'm thinking dark purple...waddya reckon?

So, having finished quilting on Saturday, Sunday I spent with my lovely mum basting my red and black quilt. Thoroughly basting it. Very thoroughly basting it. Here it is in various stages of progress (and turned over to the back to check for bald patches!)
laid out ready to basteready to baste with weightsbasting in progresswell basted

All this basting can only mean one thing: Yes, I have decided to hand quilt again ;-). A couple of blog readers suggested quilting fans (like this) but I've never done this before and wonder if I have too many seams (especially in the log cabinny central bit). Advice please ladies :-)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Journal Quilt Work-in-Progress

You may remember in this post I mentioned that a friend (J) and I were planning to make a series of journal quilts this year, one for each month. After some discussion, we decided that rather than having a theme for each month, we would explore a new technique each month. J was lucky enough to get a copy of Liberated Quiltmaking II for Christmas so we agreed on liberated piecing for January. OK, so it's not a new technique for me, but I had never made a liberated basket before so I have given that a go and here it is in progress:

January WIP

I started off by piecing a mini liberated log cabin block from which I cut my basket shape, then cut a bias strip for the handle. I found it really quite tricky to get the handle to lie flat so not sure if I did it quite right, or if I'm just a bit ham fisted!! Once pieced I started adding some hand stitching. As my stitching invariably means a scruffy backside (!) I have done this just through the front and the wadding and will add the backing later, perhaps ditch quilting around the basket through all three layers. I am really loving the kantha-style quilting. I have been desperate to try it since getting this book from a show last year and felt this was a perfect piece to try it out on (ie not too big/daunting). It really has lent a wonderful textural element.

If you're wondering about the strange pink crosses, then all will be explained when I finish the quiltlet and explain the "concept" behind my choices :-)

Next month's technique will be using a woven base, and March's is to be applique.  I have several ideas running through my head for these already...this is going to be such a fun project!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Lily - Take Two

Lily take 2
OK, I admit it, I couldn't really live with the previous attempt at "LILY".  It was just too damn straight.  So I tried again with bolder colours; without using precut strips; using scissors instead of a rotary cutter; eyeballing the shapes...and it is sooooooooooooo much better!  The previous attempt was ok but not really "Auntie Viv" enough ;-)

Hope Lily likes it!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Not Very Unruly Letters

I had my first go at making some unruly letters a la Tonya.  It's the beginnings of a name panel for my niece:


I think it's maybe a little bit toooooo ruly!  And I'm not altogether happy with the Y...should have used wider strips for the top part...but I'm liberated, she's 3 years old, who's judging?!!

I am planning on making little name panel quilts for nieces and nephews for next Christmas so hopefully I will get this one quilted, embellished and blinged up in time for the end of January to share over on Allie's blog.  Then I can start on the others.  I did Lily's first because she has the shortest name - lazy, moi?

Monday, 10 January 2011

Birthday, Books, Bargains and...Christmas

Oh well, the alliteration nearly worked...
birthday books
As some of you might know, I've just celebrated my birthday and I do like to treat myself to some new books in honour of the occasion :-) This year my chosen books were Tonya's "Word Play Quilts" (of course!) and a fabulous book called "Creative Quilting".  Added to that, mum bought me Gwen Hedley's "Drawn to Stitch" which is full of innovative ideas to try.

The Creative Quilting book is all about Journal Quilts and is full of eye candy like this:
inside creative quilting 2inside creative quilting

Together with a new home-ed friend, I am going to make a journal (8" x 10") quilt for each month of 2011 and this book is chock-a-block  with inspiration.  Each quilt illustrated has a brief description of the story behind the quilt, some with techniques used too.  It truly is a lovely book and one I would thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in art quilts.

So, that's Birthday and on to Bargains.  Each month our local library has a used book sale.  I have no idea how they decide which books to sell, because I have previously bought books from them that seem in perfect condition.  This month's bargain book was the best yet.  It is this hardback book of Embroidery Techniques and Projects:

embroidery book

I have borrowed it from the library several times before and found it very useful, with incredibly clear step by step instructions for loads of different stitches, like these:

inside embroidery book 2inside embroidery book

And I bought it for the princely sum of 50p.  To say I was pleased was an understatement :-)

And now on to Christmas:

I have decided to join in with Allie's Christmas Through the Year Club - you can read the rules on her blog here. This involves making Christmas presents throughout the year and the incentive is, if you post pics on your blog of your hand crafted gifts by the end of the month, you get entered into a draw to win a small prize. I think this is a great idea and will save the last minute gift making panic that ensued this Christmas :-). The only problem is that a lot of the family and friends I might make gifts for are also readers of this blog. This limits me to the very young, very old and IT-illiterate amongst them...either that or I'll make some generic gifts and whoever posts the nicest comments about them gets them for Christmas hehehehe.  How's that for an idea?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Hello Blogger

I finally got fed up with the limited ways of connecting with other bloggers on wordpress and have moved my blog over here. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to import stuff from wordpress but thanks to this site I was able to! Yippee!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Drum roll please...'s my first completed quilt top of 2011!


quilt top complete

Yep, it's Gman's black and red quilt.  Not sure of a name for it.  Suggestions on a postcard please.

Next step is to quilt it...not sure how yet though ;-)