My Soul is fed with needle and thread
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A new quilt every time we redecorate; madness.

February 26, 2013   

Sally's quilt full size

Here’s an idea for a quick quilt to match your bedroom décor. This quilt was made by my mother for her granddaughter, my sister’s daughter. Sally had recently repainted her bedroom and her mother had bought her new bedding to tone in with the Lavender walls. Her old quilt no longer fitted in with this new colour scheme, and a new quilt was required.Sally's quilt;backing

My mother, went back to the shop where the bedding had been bought and bought a king size duvet cover in the same pattern, one side had very large cabbage roses printed on it, not suitable for cutting into small pieces, so that side would be used for the backing, the other side an easier fabric to cut up being an all over swirling pattern.
Using small amounts of toning fabric, a paler green Broderie Anglaise, bright and greyed Lavenders, dark Blue, and Teal green, with large amounts of the duvet fabric in an oversized 18inch block, she achieved a pattern apparently floating in space.
Sally's quilt detail 2
I have been looking at the photographs trying to see where the block begins and ends. I think it’s an asymmetric 4 patch block, 4 of which are placed in the centre of the quilt each one rotated 90 degrees from its neighbour. There’s an extra half block strip top and bottom to make the quilt rectangular.It was a lovely quilt when it was made, and a great idea for making a quilt to tone in with an existing décor.

Sally's quilt detail 1

The bedding was polycotton and has long since worn out and been made into dusters, and the quilt, although still in existence, up close has the appearance of worn poly fabrics, stray fibres pilling across surface. I think I could shave them off with a safety razor to improve the appearance, but to be honest I like the fact that it shows wear and tear, it is what it is, and sometimes when well used quilts are a little tatty, they invite further use. No longer preciously perfect, they can be used, thrown about, even sicked on without conscience, and enjoyed.
When I see a quilt which has lived it’s life packed away in a drawer kept for best, or for a wedding day which never happened, I feel sorry that someone’s handiwork lost its purpose, and the point of its making was missed. Quilts are for using, and enjoying, signs of wear are badges of honour for a quilt.

Lovely weekend in Lancaster

February 19, 2013   

(16.02.2013) Saturday arrived bathed in sunshine, after a cold wet winter it was a God given day of clear blue sky and crystal clear air that gave a hope of spring. After an early appointment at the hairdresser’s to get my grey as a Badger roots covered, my Dearest and I drove to Morecambe, a nearby seaside Town so that we could walk on the promenade in the sunshine. Typical then that as we arrived hazy cloud appeared and the sun struggled a little but continued to do it’s best to warm the day.

Dingy old Dinghy

We came across this sad old dinghy filled with rainwater and beach pebbles to prevent it blowing away in the winter storms, and wondered how long it had sat there disused and forgotten, filled with water rather than bobbing about on it. The LR on the side of the boat indicates that the boat or more likely the larger boat, for which this was the tender, is registered by the Port of Lancaster authorities.
The Georgian Customs hHouse Lancaster

Lancaster is technically still a Port even though the river silted up over a century ago, the lovely 18th century Quay side with its bonded warehouses and handsome Georgian Customs House has not seen a ship since the days of sail.

The Port of Lancaster is now situated further down the river estuary at a tiny village called Glasson, Glasson Dock used to have a dry dock for ship repairs, which was filled in and built over in the late 60’s, I can just about remember it.

tide gates closed

tide gates closed

The dock itself is tidal, and has great tidal gates which are opened only when the tide is high to let vessels in or out, and then closed to hold the water in the dock as the tide drops. At the landward side of the dock is another lock gate which allows smaller vessels into the marina and from there by another lock gate onto a spur of the Lancaster canal.

tide gates open

tide gates open

Sunday dawned another beautiful sunny day, cold but bright, we went with the 16 year old to Glasson Dock in hope of the opportunity to take some photographs, but there was little that captured our eyes or imagination, and the warm fireside beckoned.
Today was another day like Saturday, mild, sunny not a breath of wind, three days sunshine in a row, in February, how lucky is that? So this time we walked the river path on an old railway track long since decommissioned from Conder Green to Stodday and back, the route shared with cyclists, dog walkers and Mums with young children on foot, bike and scooter, just enjoying unseasonable sunshine.
 The Lune estuary, with Glasson in the distance

From the river path we could see Glasson Dock on the horizon. My lovely day was marred by nagging worries about things I needed to achieve at work, which were not being progressed in my absence, how silly!
Note to self, stop worrying about all the things which are not getting done, and enjoy the thing you are doing.

A Valentine Rose from my Mother

February 12, 2013   

Pictured is a little piece of work of my mother’s which she gave me, a rose for St Valentine’s Day, this is a sweet little hanging which is paper pieced using four different patterned fabrics to create the rose flower plus a single green for the leaves. The flower centre is from the fabric used for the binding, mum has used yellow French knots of embroidery silks to create the sense of pollen covered anthers in the rose centre.

Valentine Rose

This was a challenge, I think the theme was celebration, and this is a perfect little gift for Valentine’s Day, a keepsake, a rose that won’t wither. Thanks Mum, I love you too.

A challenging challenge

February 6, 2013   

What do you do if you don’t like the challenge block? Hide it.

Cecily's favourite churn dash block

This Lap quilt is made using the Churn Dash block (or monkey wrench), I think it was the favourite block of our most venerated late member and the instigator of our quilt group’s challenge, Cecily. But I dislike it. I wanted to rise to the challenge as always but I find the block rather pedestrian, perhaps because I’ve only made it in co-ordinated colours and plain fabrics, so a decided to do it in heavily patterned fabrics and mix it up so that the pattern was lost and the fabric became the star of the piece rather than the block.
Good idea, but I think I took it too far, the pattern is completely lost and with it the sense of rhythm to the quilt top, as a consequence what stands out are the pale squares, rather than the fabric in general. All of the fabrics are Liberty scraps from the printer’s factory shop, I’m so lucky to live nearby; I call in occasionally to buy craft packs, but I can also buy off the roll if I have a big project in mind.

Detail of quilting on Churn Dash quilt

In other senses I’m happy with the quilt; it hangs beautifully flat and straight and is evenly quilted throughout. I created my own wavy line quilt guide using taped together strips of cereal packet, with a hand drawn wavy line. On one side the wavy edge has wide and fairly flat curves, on the other side they are closer together and therefore appear deeper. I used the flatter side, drew on the lines with an air dispersible pen, and chalk pencil taking the quilt pattern right out in a continuous line to the edge of the quilt.
I like the curvy line quilting because it’s easy to do and does not rely on the accuracy of the piecing, in fact if your piecing is not accurate curvy line quilting is very forgiving. That’s always a good thing.

Am I a lucky girl?

February 6, 2013   

Santa brought me a Sizzix Big Shot, I’d seen apple core quilts on Pinterest and coveted them, so when I discovered how the pieces were cut I coveted the Sizzix machine as well, but I couldn’t justify buying one just to have a go at making a quilt. My Dearest however thought it would make an excellent gift this Christmas. I am delighted with it and have already begun cutting apple cores from my stash.

The Sizzix Big Shot

If you are not familiar with this piece of equipment it’s a die cutter, basically a miniature mangle, which presses dies (a shape cutting blade) onto whatever you want to cut the shape in, paper, card or fabric, mostly used by card makers and other crafty people. I have already worked out that I can use it for appliqué, with bondaweb, and to make other paper crafts as yet not crystalised but bubbling away at the back of my head ( no doubt you’ll be the first to know when I get round to trying out my as yet vague ideas)
I always find myself wondering how other quilters manage to make such well balanced colour coordinated Scrap quilts, I generally find I struggle to have the right amount of sufficient variation of colour and pattern to make a balanced quilt; do you think maybe they cheat? Maybe they go out and buy new fabrics to achieve the look they want and then just call it a scrap quilt? Surely not!
I have pulled a few fabrics from my stash and cut them into apple cores but together they lack a certain something, I’m not sure what exactly and don’t want to cut any more till I know what it is that’s missing; the dreaded yellow perhaps, or maybe greater variation of darks and lights, at the moment what I have cut are mainly mid shades. I shall need to pull out a great many more fabrics from my stash and throw them in a pile I think, then pare it back, pulling out the ones that don’t work, till I have the right mix.

my first apple core quilt in the making

Having said that I think one of my weaknesses is a need to control, perhaps, as it’s a scrap quilt I should just throw it all in and let it all hang out, wherever the fabrics fall… if you see what I mean, and pardon my clichés.
The truth is I didn’t pull out of my stash the fabrics I love, I pulled out the fabrics I could spare, the unloved and languishing bits, so it’s no wonder they aren’t yet making an inspiring mix. I need inspiration, one or two well chosen fabrics to pull it all together, or white, or navy? Oh Help! What I really need is a few days of free time in my studio to let this quilt come together.