Friday, 18 June 2010

Applique Samples

I have a quilt in progress, that is nearly finished, but I would like to post a complete story about that one. So, in the meantime, here is the selection of applique samples that I have in my collection of UFOs.

What we have here is evidence that I am not overwhelmed with joy at my own applique skills. I love the look of applique, but when it comes to myself I prefer quicker results from rotary cutting and chain piecing. The sunbonnet sue was made from a kit that I got as a free gift with an internet fabric order. Even with something so simple I can't avoid tweaking - I added the heart and the zig zag border from other project leftovers. This is a fused Sunbonnet - I must confess that I generally do applique with fusible web!

I will also acknowledge SewKalico's observations that these are samples or tests rather than UFOs. I do have a proper applique UFO - which I shall look out and photograph for you all on another occasion.

The fused suns (and single moon) are adapted from a pattern in a Lynne Edwards book on using up scraps. I'm not sure what I am doing with them yet - so far, there is the making of three seperate quilts, given the different feel of the fabrics used. The one on point may well acquire some sashing.

The needle-turned examples are 'OK', but I must confess, that though I started the teddy bears for a cousinly baby quilt, I don't think this method is hard-wearing enough, so I don't know what to do about them, some of the fabrics are quite thin and/or pre-loved. The stars are much nicer (to my eyes!). These came from a pack of die cut yellow stars, of which I have many more, so I could use these altogether for a big quilt, or I could use them in batches with other blocks for a sampler effect. I could do with a few more red background fabrics if I am going to make a bigger quilt of lots of stars.

Not much time for sewing this week, just chain-pieced some 2.5x3.5 inch rectangles into a brick layout border for the latest baby quilt (of which more next week) - I had my PhD viva on Wednesday so I was preparing for that. Not too bad - a few corrections, but I was awarded my PhD, so I am now (at least informally) Dr Pangbourne. Huw had his second ever school concert, in which he played a prince puppet in the Lonely Goatherd song. He was very good, but rather serious looking! Tonight my beloved and I are getting dressed up in evening dress and going to a dinner dance. So, a lovely week.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

English Patchwork UFOs

I thought I should confess to my main sin (after buying too much fabric). I have a big problem with starting projects and then not finishing them. This is the first post in a series that owns up to some of my collection of UFOs and WIPs (Works in Progress). I'm not sure how many I have - every time I do a count, I find more somewhere else later.

Also, how should we define the difference between a UFO and a WIP? UFOs are, in the patchwork and quilting world, Unfinished Objects, and WIPs are Works in Progress. We also have Orphan Blocks, which are left over from otherwise finished projects. But when does something become a UFO? I am assuming that the label WIP applies to a project which is planned - you know what you are making, but you haven't finished it! A UFO however, is a something which you start without a clear idea of what it is going to be/look like - but how much do you need to make before it can be called a UFO? Is a single block a UFO or a sample?

Anyway, today I have collated a few of my English Patchwork WIPs and UFOs:

At the top left we have a hexagonal piece that was inspired by the More Colours selection facility in Microsoft Office (yes, really - go look at it!). I don't know what this is going to be, or what it could be, so it is a UFO rather than a WIP. Either way, I really love it, and need to do something appropriate with it. On the right of that is another hexagonal piece. This one was originally going to be a small wallhanging, then a cushion, but I have enough cushions. So, I think this should be a bag - but what kind of bag! I'm thinking tote, but I will have to see what other fabrics I have that complement the panel, and then we will see. So, as I know what kind of object this is going to be, it is a WIP! Bottom left is just pastel/kid print hexagons tacked over papers. Originally I was thinking of making something similar to the panel that is now going to be a bag, but I'm not so sure any more. What will these be useful for? Finally, on the right, there is an ambitious set of blocks at various stages, for a full size quilt. This one was definitely to use up fabrics and scraps. The pink kite shapes, as the stem of the posy, come from a man's shirt that was dyed pink and purchased from Flip in the 1980s. The background fabric came from a sale find, and the florals are all Liberty or Liberty-style cotton lawns. I'm not at all sure I like this, it isn't my usual style at all, but I felt I should explore some of the old-style classics. Should I add sashing or not?

More to follow another time. Meanwhile, happy sewing everyone!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Quiltless babies and other work in progress

Now that I have a litte more spare time, I have been catching up with some quilting. Four quilts have actually left the building this year, a major achievement for me, and this is inspite of the acquisition of a Jack Russell terrier, and severe limitations on the use of the design floor! The first two were the non-identical pair that I have already written about. I'll tell you about the next two here.

One is for my cousin Charlie's first baby, Fin, who has been quiltless for a little while.

I have some blocks left over from this one, as I wasn't sure what I was making when I started, but realised that Fin was a quiltless baby, and I needed to sort out a quilt fast! The sashing helped to reduce the busy-ness and tied it all together, and the backing and binding are one piece of bright orange fabric from my collection. This was a real stash buster.

Although the blocks are random, I have sort of organised the colours when laying out the finished blocks (yellow corners meet in top left, green on top right and blue on bottom right). I have also tried to make sure that identical prints are not adjacent.

The second quilt was for a very new niece, althoug I had started the blocks before. I put them together into this bright number for Arwen:

I used the fabrics from a Moda tin, called Splish Splash - lots of bright water theme nursery prints with coordinates. I did of course supplement this from my own collection to make a bigger central panel. I add two borders to bring the blocks together, the black and white border is intended to give the eye somewhere to rest, and then the left over strips of fabric make the next border. I had to go out and buy the bright pink flower fabric (once I knew that Arwen was a girl!). Although I did have fabrics, I didn't like any of them with the quilt centre. I also bought the backing fabric, which I completely adore.

There are still quiltless babies, and more on the way, so I will have to continue with the baby quilt production line. However, I also have other unfinished projects, some of which I am trying to get a little further on. This one is from a Katherine Guerrier design in Popular Patchwork a couple of years ago, which I have, as usual, adapted to suit the sizes of fabric I have in my collection!

Monday, 22 March 2010

A non-identical pair

I have been a bit busier with sewing since I got my new sewing machine earlier this year. I haven't done as much as I would like, as I am due to finish my PhD next week (eek). However, I had a flurry of finishing baby quilts, stimulated by some new arrivals. Of course, having finished a non-identical pair, for a pair of non-identical twins, I haven't actually got around to posting them. Silly me.

However, here are some pictures of a pair of quilts, for a boy and a girl; I'm quite pleased with these.

I only used fabrics from my stash, even for the backs. The clown fabric that is used in the centre of some of the blocks is a Laura Ashley Country Furnishing Cotton from the 1980s. I have only a few very small squares left of it now. I love the colours, but the clowns actually look a bit miserable! I hope these quilts will be used rather than tucked away in a drawer. One has a ribbon border appliqued on because I accidentally nicked the outer border fabric with a rotary cutter in a couple of places - now secured by the ribbon! Oops.

Monday, 8 February 2010

While I was waiting...

Welcome to 2010! Yes, I know it is February already, but we had a lot of snow in January, which messed life up a bit in this neck of the woods. Well, I now have a new sewing machine as you can see. So far, I haven't done much with it, but I have decorated a T-shirt, to go with some knitting for my smallest boy, which has kept me out of mischief but still creating. Cutting out and putting shapes back together is obviously vital to me, as you can see from the cardboard reindeer (pattern was in a Hobbycraft magazine) and the decoupage Christmas cards, which I designed myself (very thrifty, made from cards received the year before)

More to follow soon, as there are babies waiting for their heirlooms!