Monday, 24 December 2012

Final post of the year

Where has this year gone? Suddenly it's Christmas, and my 'to-do' list seems to be as long as ever!  Hopefully there will be time to do some sewing later this week, and to gather some thoughts about next year.

Resolutions for 2013? Make time to be creative. And don't sweat the small stuff!

Here's hoping everyone who reads this will have a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Feeling really chuffed - my little 'Queen of Spades' quilt won runner-up in its' class at the first West Country Quilt Show last week! Yay!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Variations on a theme

Where has the time gone? I've intended to post something on here for weeks, but time flies, as they say. Anyway, back in May I posted a picture of 'Queen of Spades' - a little quilt I wished to enter in the Festival of Quilts. I should have read the form more closely, because it was slightly too small - rules say that a quilt should be 1 metre in one direction. So I added some shapes top and bottom to bring it up to the correct size, and I'm glad I did - it looks more complete now.


As you may know, I am studying for the Quilters Guild Judging qualification, and as part of this module, we have to look at various quilts and the techniques used to make them. I was delighted to learn that one of the other students, Hilde van Schaardenburg, has used 'Queen of Spades' as an example, and has made her own piece inspired by it. Here it is...
I think Hilde's version is beautiful! If you want to see more of her work, do have a look at her website -

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Mystery Medallion - my second one!

As promised, a picture of the second quilt I have made using the Mystery Medallion instructions, but this one has more borders, and is now 72" square.

I added a narrow strip around the chequerboard border, which made the top 40" square (plus seam allowance), then I could add 8" blocks for the next border. Then a 2" border to stabilize it, and finally a border made from 60 degree triangles. I used Creative Grids triangle ruler for this, which made life much easier!

Now to quilt it, but not this week - too much else going on!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Just to clarify things....

...I intended that the instructions for the Mystery Medallion quilt would all be together on the 'Project Patterns' page. Step 1 went smoothly, but last week I uploaded all the rest, and for some reason I managed to put them onto the Home page, and I can't figure out how to move them to the correct page! (Doh!). I'll keep trying, but sorry if it's confusing.

Anyway, yesterday was the Reveal of the Mystery Medallions made by members of my quilting group. I was absolutely blown away by the number (more than 30) and the variety of quilts. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any pictures, as I was holding them all up!However, the good news is that pictures will be available soon, on another blog. Still slightly under wraps, but as soon as I can, I'll put the link on here.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Mystery Medallion completed!

I've finished quilting and binding the Mystery Medallion Quilt. It's hand quilted, using curves taken from the Orange Peel segments, and didn't take too long. It's finished at 39" square, a nice small lap quilt or wall hanging size.

The larger quilt top is nearly complete - I'll post a picture next week, with a bit of luck. I've also added the rest of the instructions for this one to the Project Patterns page. If anyone is trying this project, I'd love to know how you are getting on! By the way, the instructions have been slightly abridged for the blog - if anything is unclear, or confusing, please email me and I'll try to help.
Instruction 2 - Turn the block ‘on point’ and add corner triangles.

This stage is a simple one, but needs care to make sure it’s right. First, choose your fabric. Try laying the completed block on various fabrics to see what works.

When you’ve decided, cut 2 squares each measuring 9⅜” x  9⅜”.  Then cut them in half diagonally. Handle them with care, as this cut edge is stretchy, and easily pulled out of shape. Put one edge of the block against the longest edge of the triangle, and pin carefully. Use more pins than you think you need, as they will hold it in place while you stitch and will stop the seam stretching out of shape.
Stitch the two pieces together from the block side. That way, you can make sure that your line of stitching goes though the point made by the half square triangles in the block. So it will look neat and crisp.  Then repeat with the opposite triangle. Press the triangles away from the block. If there is any dark fabric showing through from the block, now is the time to trim it, as before.

Repeat with the other two triangles. There will be some little bits sticking out from each seam, as before. Just trim them off, and check that there is ¼” seam allowance at the 4 points of the centre block.  Now measure the piece, across the centre, both ways. These measurements should be 17½”. If not, don’t panic – we can sort that at the next stage, which is to start the first border.
If you are feeling inspired (or brave), you could make these triangles out of patchwork, (maybe strips), or add some appliqué to them. But plain ones work fine, and you could always add appliqué later on if you felt it would work.

You now have the option of adding a very narrow border, which will bring the size up to 18” (finished size). This will make the next instruction easier, but if you’d rather skip this stage, don't worry. If you want to add this border, then cut 4 strips of fabric, two x 1” wide x 17½” and two x 1” x 18½” long.  Stitch the shorter strips on opposite sides, then press the seams away from the centre, and repeat with the other two. You should now have a piece of patchwork measuring 18½”square. If you feel these strips are a bit narrow to work with, cut them a bit wider and trim them afterwards. Just make sure you trim them equally.
Instruction 3 – Cornerstones – using Foundation Piecing
The next step is to surround your patchwork with a border. We’ll do this in 2 stages. Firstly, we’ll make the square blocks to set at each corner – known as cornerstones. They will measure 4½” x 4½” when finished, including the seam allowance. I’ve chosen to make them using Foundation Piecing. If you haven’t used this technique before, it’s very simple to do, and very accurate, especially for small pieces. However, it’s not particularly economical so far as fabric is concerned.
When you've chosen a design, make 4 copies.  I’ve used the square-in-a-square block – it’s an easy one, and the shape echoes the centre block. If you aren't sure how to do foundation piecing, or would rather do something else, then please do! 
For the second quilt, I used the twisted log cabin blocks, which are slightly more complicated. Whichever you choose, if you haven’t done Foundation Piecing before, you could try a sample first, in some scrap fabric.

Instruction 4 – The First Pieced Border
At the end of Instruction 2, you had the choice of adding a narrow border or not. If you did, then your centre panel measures 18½” x 18½”. If you didn’t, then your centre panel measures 17½” x 17½”.

In both cases, this includes a ¼” seam allowance, so we now have to make 4 sides, each with a finished measurement of either 18” or 17”.  17” does not divide easily by 2, so I’ve had to adjust the measurements for this one slightly to fit. This won’t be noticeable, and it means that if your centre panel measures more or less than 17½”, it will be easy to adjust.

This border is simply made from rectangles of fabric, stitched together. You need to cut 9 rectangles for each side. For an 18” side, cut all 9 rectangles 4½” x 2½”. If you have a 17” side, then  7 measure 4½” x 2½”, and 2 measure 4½” x 2”. (In this case, if your centre panel measures more or less than 17½”, then you can adjust the width of these smaller pieces to fit. If you choose the same fabric for these end pieces as you have for the outer shapes on the cornerstones, then any adjustment shouldn’t be obvious.)
Stitch your rectangles together for each side, and press the fabrics towards the darker ones. Measure this strip – it should measure the same as the measurement across the centre of the panel. If it’s slightly too large, you can trim an equal amount from each end. If it’s too small, you should re-cut your end pieces a bit bigger and re-stitch them. If it’s very much adrift, either way, please check you are cutting accurately, and stitching an accurate ¼” seam. Don’t guess – measure!
Pin a strip to the top of your centre panel. Make sure the centre of the panel matches up with the centre of the middle patch of the strip. Then pin the edges carefully, and stitch the strip to the panel. Make sure the stitching line goes through the point where the Churn Dash block and the background meet up.
 Repeat with the opposite strip. Press these strips away from the centre of the piece. Then stitch a cornerstone to each end of the remaining 2 strips, and press towards the centre of the strip. Pin these borders on as before, matching up the centres as before. Stitch carefully, then remove the pins and press. (You will notice in later photos that this border is slightly different – that’s because I decided the centre rectangle didn’t look right, so I took out 3 from each side and changed them slightly.)
Instruction 5 – A narrow plain border
Again, there are 2 versions of this, depending on whether or not you added the narrow border at the end of Instruction 2. If you didn’t, then you should cut 2 strips, 1½” x 25½”, and 2 strips, 1½” x 28”. If you did,  then cut 2 strips, 1” x  26½”, and 2 strips 1” x  28”. Stitch the first strips to opposite sides of your patchwork and press towards the new piece. Trim darker fabrics if necessary, as before. Then stitch the longer strips to the other 2 sides and press. At this point, you can remove the paper from behind your foundation pieced cornerstones. Measure the piece across the middle again, then trim it so that it measures 27½” across each way.  Make sure you trim an equal amount from each side to maintain the symmetry.
Instruction 5 continued – A chequerboard border
I’ve chosen to use 2 colours for this border, but you could use different ones if you wanted.  It’s constructed from 3½” squares of fabric. If you wish to use just 2 colours, then cut strips of fabric 3½” wide and stitch them together along the long side. 
Then press the seams towards the long side and cross-cut to make pairs of squares 3½” wide (If you don’t have long enough pieces for strips, then cut squares and stitch them together in pairs.)
Then stitch 2 pairs together to make a square, and press the centre seam open. This means it will lie flat, and will avoid dark fabric showing through.
You will need 9 pairs stitched into a row for each side, and 2 pairs stitched together to make each corner.
Then stitch the top and bottom borders onto the centre panel, press towards the centre, stitch the corners onto each end of the other borders, and attach them. Your piece should now measure 39” square.
Instruction 6 – Applique
If you want to finish the quilt at this size, then this is the last stage. If you would like to make it larger, you can choose whether to appliqué or not.
However, if you have finished with it, and want to appliqué, please read on. Rather than add a plain border and appliqué all the way round, I have chosen to add Orange Peel segments to the 4 corners of the chequerboard border. The method you use is up to you. If you want to bond your shapes to the background, then that method is detailed below, but if you would rather hand appliqué, that’s fine too. Just don’t forget to add an extra ¼” to the applique shape for your turning under.
Draw an Orange Peel shape - it's very simple to make your own. Take a rectangle of paper 5" x 2", and fold vertically. Make 2 marks just over 4" apart along the fold, and draw one side of the Orange Peel curve between these 2 marks. Then cut with scissors and open out. You might have to make more than one until you are satisfied, but when it looks okay, then make a sturdy copy either in cardboard or template plastic.
Trace this shape onto the paper side of your Bondaweb 49 times. You will need 12 shapes for each corner, making a total of 48; the 49th is a practice one! Then cut enough shapes out of the Bondaweb for each fabric you wish to use. If your fabric is directional, you’ll have to cut the shapes individually, otherwise, you can just cut out the area of Bondaweb with the correct number of shapes on it. Bond the glue side of the Bondaweb to the wrong side of your fabric, using a hot dry iron. Protect your iron and ironing board with some baking parchment. (Try your practice one first.) Then cut out the shapes on the pencil lines. At this point, you can try different arrangements of your shapes.
When you are satisfied, peel off the backing paper and attach the shapes to your patchwork, again using a hot dry iron. Don’t forget the baking parchment. Each of these segments should fit a 3” square corner to corner. Don’t forget to leave a ¼” seam allowance at the outer edges.
Then use your practice segment to decide how you wish to stitch the segments. I used a machine buttonhole stitch, but you use whatever you like. Hand stitching is another option, but stitching through 2 layers of fabric and the glue layer might be a bit difficult.
Then when all the shapes are stitched down, the quilt top is finished!  All that remains is quilting and binding.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Mystery Medallion Quilt - update

This is a picture of the next and possibly final stage in the Mystery Medallion Quilt top. I am currently quilting this one, and it should be finished within a couple of weeks.

However, I have also made another one, with more borders to make it larger. Pictures and details to follow soon....

Monday, 25 June 2012


Went to the Quilt Show at Sandown Racecourse yesterday, and saw some beautiful quilts. Anyone else there? What did you think?

Monday, 18 June 2012

I have recently returned from a FAB-U-LOUS holiday in the USA, which included a visit to the Museum of the American Quilt Society in Paducah, Kentucky. It's not somewhere you just pass through - you have to make the effort to go, but if possible, it is worth the effort....however, you aren't allowed to take photos inside, sadly!

I also bought fabric, visited other places with quilts, and generally had a Jolly Good Time!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The latest stage in the Mystery Medallion Quilt - instructions were issued last week. A simple chequerboard border, but whether you use 2 colours or lots is up to you! It is shown off better in this case by inserting a simple narrow strip first.

One more stage to go with this small quilt top, that should appear in about a month's time....

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Had a great afternoon yesterday, with lots of quilters. Here's a picture of a wall-hanging I have made, which will be entered in the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in August. It was started last year, and finished in January this year.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

I haven't posted on here for 6 months - I can't believe it's been so long! I refreshed the look of the blog today - it will probably change again until I'm satisfied, if I ever am!

I have been busy with various textile related things in the past months, but not everything can be posted yet. All the same - here's a little catch up...

The piece I started last year inspired by the local church was finished in time for Christmas, and here's a photo...
It's made from silk, appliqued and quilted, with glitzy fabric shapes added here and there.

I have also been busy with the Quilt Judging Course. The first module is finished, so I'm moving on to the second one.

The journal quilt plan has not happened - no time!. And I'd rather not dash something off half heartedly, then regret not doing it properly.

I've been involved with the Quilts4London project, where 14000+ pennants have been made in order to give one to every participant in the Olympics and Special Olympics.

Our local group is working on a couple of projects- a Round Robin, and a Mystery Quilt. For obvious reasons, I can't post any pictures of the Round Robin, although I am enjoying it very much, but the Mystery Quilt is my design, so I can post photos of where the project has got to so far.

The centre block - a straightforward Churn Dash...

....was turned on point.....

.....then a border made from foundation pieced cornerstones and rectangles....more to follow!