Wishing you a happy and healthy 2017!! and hope that you manage to create all you want to over the coming year.
I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, they never seem to last! But I am going to make a couple this year.
Firstly, before I put any scrap pieces of calico or unbleached calico in the box they are going to be cut into certain sizes – for the long pieces, they will be cut to 2½” strips for borders or 1¾” pieces for joining strips and then the rest will be cut to 2½”, 4½” or 6” squares. They are in useable pieces and I won’t have to spend all day pressing them and cutting them up, like I have over the Christmas holidays!! I am also going to use a lot of them up, making with my afternoon class a quilt that uses up all those bits of fabric that are left over from other projects.
Secondly, I will finish the hexagon quilt I have been making for Laura for the past about 16 years, for her 18th birthday in August!!! Just a few more of the border hexagons to sew on and then I will hand quilt it!!!
Thirdly, I will finish some and I am not putting any number on how many, of the quilt tops and half completed quilts that are in the box in my work room.
Other than that I am going to see what 2017 brings…
Well, January has gone really well! I have kept the New Year’s resolution to cut up ‘off cuts’ and what I call scrap fabric, before they go into their boxes. I still need to go through the colour boxes cutting up all the fabric that is already in them! By scrap fabric I mean pieces that are smaller than 6” square that are left over from other projects. All the larger pieces of fabric are stored in pull out plastic (Ikea!) drawers in the cupboard according to colour, then the smaller pieces are in cardboard boxes. I am working my way through the boxes, pressing and then cutting the fabric to useable sizes, mostly 1½” – the size I use to make the dogs and other animals and where I can 2½” & very occasionally 4½”. With the amount of 1½” squares I am going to have to think of some new uses!!!
A lot of the fabric is being used for the Butterfly and Flower scrap quilt I am teaching in the afternoon class, it is using up loads of different fabrics, on both the front and the back.
I still think I am going to have loads left to use up!!!
I have sewn the final hexagons to Laura’s quilt and got it all layered up ready to start hand quilting. I love hand quilting and I am looking forward to working on this quilt – got to finish knitting a couple of baby cardigans first and a patchwork dog but then it will be full steam ahead in the evenings to get it quilted. I want to get most it done before the warmer weather as it can get very warm with a full size quilt over you in the summer!!
I have also managed to create a number of postcards over this month and make myself a wrap dress, with fabric that I have had since November but I just didn’t have the time!! Finished two quilts and knitted two baby cardigans.
Hopefully February will be as successful as January in getting pieces finished.
For some reason, February just seems a lot shorter month than others, yet it is only two days shorter!!! Those two days feel more like five!!!
I realised that the end of the month was nearing and I hadn’t finished the quilt, I had planned to. I penciled it in the diary to start on Thursday 23rd. The top I had earmarked for February was made up from four Nine Patch blocks, which was made up of some full squares but a lot of Half square triangles and quarter square triangles, all made in demonstrations in classes in 2012. The centre of each was a flower – used to demonstration fusible web and machine applique. I had got as far as making it into top with the sashing in calico and then extra flowers and leaves thrown across the whole design.
I made up the back of the quilt from a set of fat quarters I had been given, layered it and then over the next couple of days, machine quilted the Nine Patch blocks and ‘stems’ over the whole design connecting up the leaves and flowers. I put the binding and finally quilted on my tortoise on the Sunday.
I was also a bit late making Laura’s duck quilted postcard – did that on Sunday as well!!!
In my defence, I have made a pinafore and two skirts, an apron to where at work (as getting threads of needlecord is fun!!) and to keep my glasses and thimble in – I am always losing them in class!! Also finished knitting the baby cardigans and made five quilted postcards.
Lots on the to do in March – Mother’s day is not far away and then there is Easter postcards to think about!!! Another quilt top to finish and then there is the quilts that I am demonstrating in class…..
Sorry I am running late with everything this month!!!
March was a very busy month, I completed a Bird using 1” squares, I do hope to get the pattern made up, soon… but I want to play with the design a bit more as I want to try to make a Robin, using the same pattern.
Then the rest of the month was all postcards, I completed twenty one over the month, with Mother’s Day, Easter and of course Laura’s Duck one.
I was really struggling with Laura’s Duck postcard as I really didn’t have an idea and then we caught the end of the film Billy Elliot and I decided to do a ballerina!!! Just got to think of one for April, May……till August and then once Laura is 18, I am stopping Duck postcards.
I did start on quilting the Tumbler quilt and I have got the centre done but the garden took priority or rather painting the new fence panels and getting them in before we went up to visit my family in Derbyshire at the beginning of April.
Since we have been back, we have been concentrating on sorting the back and front garden out and then doing trips to the dump to clear all the rubbish – just getting rid of the old fence panels, which fell apart as we took them down, filled the car – twice!!!
I am hoping to get back to my needlework soon!!!
I haven’t got a lot to say for the month that has just gone!!! It just went! I had three weeks not being near my sewing machine! For that time, I was doing hand stitching, hexagons or squares for a patchwork dog – 2” size squares for a bigger dog to use at the demonstrations I do at Rainham Hall (National Trust). Other than that, I was embellishing lots of postcards for birthdays.
Once, I got back to my sewing machine I finished quilting the Tumbler quilt (if you want to read more about it and get the pattern, in the members section) and then I have been working on the Heart to Heart quilt that I am doing with the morning class. Two more weeks and this quilt will be finished and then we will be moving onto the Butterfly and Shoo Fly Flower quilt, which is made up from loads of ‘scrap’ fabric in my cupboard.
I am still putting the last pieces of this quilt together and hopefully I will have it finished this week.
Looking ahead, I have almost completed the nine hearts made from hexagons, still a long way to the quilt is finished – they need to be appliqued on to the squares and then borders added, quilted and made up into the quilt – by September!! Once the hexagon hearts are finished I will need another hexagon project, I have ‘found’ a number of flowers left over from Laura’s hexagon quilt that I will use up first and then I am thinking of doing hexagon star quilt!!
So June has arrived, and at the moment sunshine!!! But it is only the 1st!! the last week of May was lovely and hot and I decided to finish the Whirlpool quilt over the hottest days of the month – really not the best of ideas to be machine quilting a 65” square quilt, with it all over my lap on such hot days – but it is finished!!!
Other than that, I made two more of my favourite pinafore dresses in needlecord at the beginning of the month, then it turned warm and they are too hot to wear, so they have been moved to the back of the wardrobe to come out in the autumn! And, then I made a pinafore in a lovely blue soft cotton – ideal with a white t-shirt for the summer!!! Think I might make a couple more, when I find some fabric I like, as they are so comfortable.
On the quilts front, I finished of the Heart to Heart quilt and then completed the Butterflies and Shoo Fly Flower quilt and started before half term to teach this to the morning class. With the Whirlpool quilt it means I actually completed three quilts in May!!!
With the afternoon class I have started making a nine square Flower Sampler quilt, each square is 24” finished, the centre has a different technique and then an embroidered border. I thought I had the perfect fabric in my stash for the border but when I measured it, there just wasn’t enough and it is no longer made, so I am on the hunt for another fabric what I like!!
Other than that I have created five quilted postcards and also a table runner using the brilliant Fiskars Fabric Circle Cutter!!!
We are coming to the end of the term and the end of the school year!! June has been filled with working round our daughter, Laura, doing her A level exams, being there to run her to her exams and then collecting her.
I have finally, to Laura’s relief made her prom dress!!! She was really worried that I wouldn’t get around to making it or would be finishing it on the morning of the 3rd July, the day of her prom. Just because I sometimes leave things to the last minute!!! She had chosen the pattern ages ago – Simplicity 1154, it’s a simple dress with the ties that are wrapped, twisted and tied to get different looks. Laura wanted it in a silver grey and I have been looking all over the place to get the right jersey fabric and colour. In the end, we sent off to Minerva Crafts for some samples and then chose the one that was right and ordered it.
What Laura hadn’t realised but I had as I had read the instructions was that the dress was simple to make and it only took a couple of hours to sew. The hardest part was cutting it all out – 5m of fabric laid out all over the dining room floor and having to cut it with a rotary cutter – luckily, I had loads of new and old self-healing mats to put on the floor!!
I have also made a simple summer dress and a top.
On the patchwork front I created a Beach Hut quilt, the huts are made from basic squares, stitched together and then I appliqued and quilted at the same time to calico, I made five strips and joined them together to make the quilt. This was a quick project to show in class. When, I have a bit of spare time I would like to make the design again and create more details, create a village rather than beach huts!!!
I finished of a few other bits that have been laying around and created four postcards, but I am winding down as coming to the end of term. In my mind I am beginning to think about what I will be teaching in the new school year and for Christmas!!!
I really haven’t got a lot to tell for this month!! I have been and still am, madly working on completing two hexagon quilts.
The first is the heart hexagon squares that I am making into a quilt for our anniversary in September. I have five blocks completed so far and the other four blocks are waiting to be layered and quilted.
The second is Laura’s hexagon Grandmother garden quilt that I have been making for years and years!! I did promise her it would be completed for her 18th birthday later this month. So, I am, whenever I get a few minutes hand quilting round the ‘flowers’. Fingers crossed I will get it finished!!!
We had ten days away, I prepared lots of hexagons – for a revisable bag and several postcards to be hand stitched and off we went to Croyde in Devon. We walked miles, took loads of photos (some that will make great postcards or even Journal quilts!!), Tony bodyboarded and we had a great holiday but I did very little sewing. It all came back with me, not done! Oh well, I will get them done eventually!!!
All I have got completed during July was ten quilted postcards – which doesn’t seem a lot!!!Just have to see what I get done during August – other than the hexagon quilts, I have a lot of dressmaking to do for September!!!
August was a very busy month – no I haven’t managed to finish either of the hexagon quilts, I did try but I just ran out of time. I do hope to finish our wedding anniversary one in the next week and Laura’s will be finished as soon as possible, just it wasn’t finished for her 18th birthday.
As well as all the celebrations for Laura’s 18th, she also had her A level results. She got A* in her EPQ, A in History, B in Biology, Italian and General Studies and she will be going to Queen Mary’s to study Medieval History. Just being a very proud parent!!!
Back to the creativity. Between coming home from Devon and going to Sorrento in Italy I have been madly dressmaking!!! As Tony and I are off on a cruise for our 25th anniversary, something we haven’t done before. There is no way that my usual clothes of leggings and long shirts or skirts and cardigans are going to be smart enough for all the dinners!!! So, I have been making lots of jersey dresses (five), two skirts and an evening dress for the gala dinner.
I did also make eight quilted postcards, including the last ever monthly duck one!!
For the last week of August and part of Laura’s 18th birthday celebration we went to Sorrento, it was very hot and beautiful, we went to Capri, Herculaneum and Pompeii – there is a mosaic floor that is a tumbling blocks pattern!!! Inspiration is everywhere!!!
It’s October already!!! The month of rich autumn colours – golds, reds and oranges. Not colours that I ever use in quilts but I love looking at nature’s final show of the year.
September was a rather busy month! I did finish our 25th Wedding Anniversary Hexagon Heart Quilt before we went on our cruise to the Norwegian Fjords. The fjords really lived up to my expectations and the garden on an Island in the middle of a fjord (Flor og Fjaere, Stavanger) was simply amazing!!!
I had a few hexagons left over from the hearts and I am turning them into a star design!!! Not that I got many of them sewn on the cruise!!
Back home and I spent three days getting the house and garden all sorted (I can’t think about needlework or creating till the house is just so!!!) and only then did I begin to think about all the needlework that needed doing for my classes!! And Christmas!!!
The classes started back on the 26th and in the morning class I am teaching the Flower Sampler Quilt. The squares I made last term, as I taught this to the afternoon class, but they needed the final borders, quilting and then to be put together!!! I managed it! I finished sewing the binding on just after ten on the Monday evening before the class on the Tuesday!!!
I have also been creating a quilt called ‘Faded Glory’ for the afternoon class and quilting the ‘Drunkard’s Path’ quilt, the pattern for which is on the Member’s section
November is the month that I really start on my Christmas makes! But October is the month of working out what I need to make and designing it. I am already to go on the Christmas postcards and the small gifts, I create for my classes. I will be starting to make things this week.
I completed the ‘Faded Glory’ quilt that I showed in the afternoon class and I have started showing a new sampler quilt with this class. Each square on the quilt is made up of Half Square Triangles put together in different ways to create different pattern. A lot of the patterns are called Mosaic No. Something….
With the morning class we have been working on the Flower sampler quilt, the class before the half term I showed Dresden Plate design and made four sample ones, two small and two large – with these I am creating a ‘topper’ quilt. The squares are all made and quilted and I have just got to put them together.
Other than Christmas makes, finishing the Dresden plate quilt and finally finishing Laura’s hexagon quilt are the main items on my list.
Not long to Christmas!!! I think I have everything organised! All the Christmas quilted postcards have been made and turned into cards, the small gifts I make are all done and the card envelopes for them are as well. Just one more present to sew and all the Christmas makes are done! I am already working on next term’s teaching and other things I want to create in the 2018!
November turned into a very productive month, I managed to create fifteen quilted postcards, two mug rugs, a denim pinafore for me and I also finished off Laura’s Grandmother Flower garden hexagon quilt – only three months after her birthday!!!
The other day in class I was asked how many ‘flowers’ and what size it is? I hadn’t counted or measured, so when I got home, Laura and I counted 11 rows of 11 ‘flowers’ = 121 in all and it measures 65” x 75”.
I also finished the Dresden Plate Quilt and the Centre Nine Patch Quilt and I have completed five of the HST (Half Square Triangle Quilt) Sampler Quilt squares. So, I am feeling rather pleased with all I have got done, it’s great getting things completed!
Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.