Friday, 29 April 2011

I Spy Quilt Finished ..............

The last stitch on the binding finished literally just seconds before Kate arrived at the abbey.  My first quilt and no matter where it ends up I'm always going to remember when I made it or else what I was doing when William and Kate married.


Though I loved it as it was, I had to wash and dry it if only to see for myself how it would behave should it find a new home.  A couple of colour catchers in the machine (half hour 30 degree cycle with a low spin) picked up quite a bit of dark blue and there was quite a bit of shrinkage.

Though I really, really like it there is still room for improvement.  Quilting "in the ditch" with one of the general feet I have was not as easy as I thought.  Some of the stitching isn't quite in the ditch and it shows more than I would like - particularly in the darker areas.  Maybe I should have used a different stitch length and/or perhaps tightened the tension a little more?  It's been a great learning curve and I still have much to learn.  Having chosen a beige thread, I feel I could have gone darker too.  Still, it's not exactly a showpiece so probably not that bad for a first effort!

I'll have to look out for a good patchwork/quilting book - one that explains/advises on the tensions/threads/stitching/feet etc..

Friday, 22 April 2011

All Patched Up

A more positive day yesterday and I got lots done.  Finishing this morning ..............

It went together really easily though there was a hiccup with the machine (Juki) being the top tension had disengaged and for quite a few seams until I noticed whilst pressing!  Oh, and whilst mentioning the machine, another little gripe noticed when I went to clean it this morning - the "key" type screwdriver seems to have some kind of coating which is peeling off (after 3 months)!

A bag of scraps left are crying out to be played with but I must resist and, for now, save them in case they are needed for the smaller sister - already some of the fabrics I can't repeat.  Now lots of tidying away to do ............... only to get it all back out again soon.

None of the pics seem to be very clear these days.  I can't get the Olympus to work - it won't click to take a pic..

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

At last!

The blue blocks for the kitchen window blind had been laying around for a while untouched ........... I really needed to get them out of the way so got back to them last week and then got ill.  Just a stressy thing and feel a bit better now ........... repeat after me "I must not worry so much".  I still will though cos that's "me" and isn't that what mums are for?

I struggled to get these done, finding the continual pressing and trimming monotonous but, hey, they're finished now and hope to have more fun putting them together.  I'm in no hurry to do the squares for the adjacent window just yet.


So I now have:

1) Pink and green patchwork ready to be made into a blind when I find the right backing/lining fabric (something blackoutish but not too heavy)

2) I Spy quilt top waiting for a border and quilting.

3) Blue and yellow blocks waiting to be pieced together and then made into a blind same as 1).  I shall be getting onto that next.

4) An Egyptian cotton cot sheet waiting to be dyed and stitched into a faux chenille cushion.  I have enough machine dye for two sheets so am waiting to find another one, hopefully before too long.  Think we'll get rid of the odd cushions in the living room and have a couple more co-ordinated ones instead.

5) Some fun stuff with the boxer shorts mentioned in the last post

6) Loads of other stuff that I hope to start being able to concentrate on.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

"Threads of Feeling"

At the beginning of March, just before the end of the exhibition, we were fortunate enough to be able to attend "Threads of Feeling" at the Foundling Museum.  Being interested in family history, I've read lots about Thomas Coram and the foundlings over the past few decades but had never actually visited the museum before.  The exhibition was mesmerising.  Delightful yet emotional - actually breathtaking.  Anyway, my comment was chosen (at random I think) to receive this delightful presentation box of threads, donated by Coats, which arrived this morning together with an exhibition book.  My visit being fired by the family historian as well as the textile artist, I didn't even mention stitch in the comment .............. I am delighted!

Invited to choose myself a Mothers' Day gift (I couldn't possibly say that it might have been a cop out by the other person) the handbag pattern I selected was out of stock.  There's quite a few handbag patterns here and have I ever used one of them?  Hmmmmm.  Anyway, I got this instead ...........

Why?  I actually really don't know.  It was cheap and cheerful and  I just liked it.  Perhaps imagining lots of little patchwork dinosaurs with wired organza bits somewhere down the line!

Back to reality.  Yet another pair of "no longer wearable" boxer shorts came into my possession this morning.  We have quite a little collection here - all M&S 100% cotton - and there's the remains of at least one other pair laying about somewhere which I mutilated for that blind

So, inspired by the textile tokens left by loved ones leaving their babies at the foundling hospital I have the threads and fabric set out before me.  My "token" won't be as such that it could be pinned into the pages of a ledger for hundreds of years to come but it will be something with meaning and I'd recognise that fabric (stuff that I've lived with day in day out over several  years) together anywhere.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Quilt Top Done .........

All pieced and pressed ............... my first I Spy Quilt top

There's a few bits I would have moved and a couple that perhaps don't sit so well but which I was determined to include because I like them.  Damn I am just too finicky for my own good sometimes.  It's not going to be hung on a wall and, after all, it's the "I Spy" game that's the important thing ............. lots of different novelty prints!

This will be my first every quilt.  I've quilted bags and done some experimental stuff but not an actual quilt.  It might not be bed sized at 48" square but a quilt it is.  I don't have a walking foot so have got some fusible wadding which I hope will minimise shifting whilst machining - time will tell no doubt!

Now to work out the binding.  What to use?  Straight or bias?  How wide in which case will the wadding and backing need to be bigger?  Some googling is in order I think to see if there are better ways to do it than my way which happens to be no idea at the moment!

I do wish I hadn't started messing about with the template/colours of my blog a short while ago as I can't seem to get it with anything I'm happy with now .......... a few hours playing about with the options is needed!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The First I Spy Quilt

 Enough squares to lay out for the first I Spy Quilt ............ 256 different ones

It was difficult trying to fit it all in the pic (next time I'll try and remember to stand on a chair) but it's enough for me to see what's happening and can spot a few that will probably get moved around in the next day or so before starting to stitch but not too much as it's so easy to get just too finicky.  I have plenty of squares towards a second quilt already but have to get this one out the way first and need to collect more of certain colours ........... I kind of struggled with pinky girly ones in particular.

Update:  Changing a few around (apologies for rubbish pics but I can't move this around into a different light .......... it's just about clear enough to use as a working design) .............. 

I think it's just about there now.  Husband thinks I should just mix them all up and go with it but that really wouldn't be me ............. much as I might like it to be sometimes.  Can't wait to start stitching now!