Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Designing a Medallion Quilt

It has been a long while since I last made a medallion quilt.

I made  a Marcella Medallion by Alexia Abegg in 2014 for a fabulouc friend who turned 40. The quilt is being loved and used by my friend and family - including the dog!

When I finished the quilt I had plans to make another medallion quilt for another friend who also turned 40 in 2014. But I had run out of mojo and inspiration by then ,I couldn't find the right fabric and pattern. It felt like I was wading through design treacle!

Then I saw the Blueberry Fabric by Karen Lewis, and I was totally smitten!

I bought some grey Kona - Silver, Iron and Steel to be exact. I like the contrast in the brights of the pink/red and the grey. I then bought the plain Kona fabric to match the Blueberry Park and the Fog pattern from Blueberry Fabric. Now I have bundle of fabrics, both solid colour and patterned.

But what about a quilt design?

I wanted a central star again and I found the wonderful paper piece patterns by Wombat Quilts. If you have never visited Wombat Quilts you are in for a treat. Cath Hall as has gathered a fabulous collection of paper pieced patterns for anyone access. I love this one:

It is called Ellen's Snowball and there an instructions for 12" and 16" blocks. I have chosen the 16".

Next up was getting the quilt designed around the central block... for this the amazing app TouchDraw comes in very useful!

There is a mixture of simple sewing, paper piecing and some blocks I am still figuring out how to piece...

So the journey begins with a central star.... hopefully it will end with a finished quilt by October 2016 when my friend turns 42!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Blueberry Park Fabric

It has been a long time since I last bought quilting fabric.

My tiny sewing fund has been limited to materials for my City and Guilds.

That all changed when I found out the lovely Karen Lewis of Blueberrry Park had her first fabric line coming out. It started a bit of an obsessive searching to find the prints and the things that people have been sewing with it!

I have a few scrap pieces of Karen's screen printed fabric which I am treasuring until I have the perfect plan for them, so I knew I HAD to have the collection of fabric.... but how to afford it?

Having just a few fat quarters wasn't going to cut it, I NEED to have the whole collection...

That's when the amazing UK shop that is Simply Solids came to the rescue. They have a wonderful monthly Blueberry Park club. Seven fabrics from the collection each month, over ten months. So I can get the whole range and spread the payments - what's not to love?!?!?

This week the first bundle from Simply Solids arrived and I am in love! Seriously in love!

The first seven are from the selection above and they are gorgeous!

I have a plan for them already. I missed a very dear friends 40th birthday last year. I had planned to give her a quilt, but I just didn't manage it. I want to design and make a medallion quilt for her and these fabrics are just perfect. Maybe I didn't manage it last year because I knew Karen was going to bring me inspiration with her fabulous fabric line!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Bunny Cushion!

The birthday party day has arrived and the present was finished with an hour to spare!

The pattern by Elizabeth Hartman was really easy to follow but the cutting out was quite intense because there are pretty small pieces of fabric!

I made the bottom of the bunnies face a little bit bigger so he has a nice chubby face.

Once I had finished the piecing I decided to not quilt the bunnies face apart from the nose and some whiskers. I then concentrated on the background. Into to this I quilted carrots and swirls. A bunny needs carrots after all!

The picture of the finished cushion is not great - no light here today!

I hope that the birtdhay boy loves it as much as I loved making it!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Sewing a Bunny!

This weekend midi monster has a birthday party to attend. It is the 10th birthday of his best friend.

You may not know this, but midi monster is a very talent young sewer. He can happily set up a sewing machine and can sew patchwork blocks, quilt and make simple things. His best friend is also a young sewer, he has helped his mum set up her machine and discover stitches she didn't even know about! They both attended sewing classes with me earlier this year and loved it.

But what to give a young man that will be meaningful and not too expensive?

The obvious answer is a quilted bunny cushion to go on his bed!

During an search on the internet last weekend we came across a wonderful pattern sale last weekend at Oh Fransson, the wonderful blog written by Elizabeth Hartman.

Elizabeth Hartman designs the most amazing blocks and quilts. Her new animal shape blocks are gorgeous and luckily there is bunny one!

Bunny pattern by Elizabeth Hartman

Just look at those amazing bunnies!

This evening we have printed the pattern off and sat discussing the cutting instructions for one bunny. After much consideration it was decided that mummy should cut out the required shapes - they are little bit fiddly.

So begins the first new project in quite sometime..... plus a short deadline! Must be ready for the birthday party at 11am on Sunday!

Wish us luck!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

One Year On...

It is amazing how time flies!

It has been a year since I stopped teaching for Adult Education Gloucestershire and started working at a community hub.

Module 6 Course Sampler
A whole year!

In that time my creativity and energy has been failing me. I thought it was because of the change in work and the new responsibilities that I have. My energy to blog, sew and keep up with the boys just disappeared.

Then in the summer I tried to give blood and they wouldn't let me because I failed the anaemia test. They suggested a visit to the doctors to confirm my levels. Turns out I am extremely anaemic! The kind of anaenic that involves huge iron tablets 3 times a day and sleeping 16 out of 24 hours a day!

Sept 2015 Curves Class

The last 2 months have been a long haul back from being so poorly. My energy levels are slowly growing and I only need an afternoon nap at weekends!

The biggest problem has been the loss of my sewing mojo. It has just disappeared. I have so many quilts in progress and course work to complete...

Close up of the curves

I am desperately hoping my creativity returns soon from where it is hiding!

Much love

Monday, 27 July 2015

City and Guilds Module 5 - Form

My City and Guilds course has been taking a back seat - much like all my sewing in the last 8/9 months.

My job has expanded and changed, which is fantastic and I love it! But it has led to less time for me to create.... and less time to complete the work load that is a level 3 certificate.

BUT I am still working, slowly, steadily and in every spare moment that I can!

Module 5 was all about form and focused on the Media. I am not going to lie - it took me AGES!

But I think the results were worth the perseverance and time:

 My design development had to be presented in 3D, so I created a radio themed exploding box.

Which opened to reveal sections of design work based on the radio speakers, radio in society and speakers.

In centre I placed my artist exploration and explanation of the design element Form.

As part of the module I explored water soluble fabrics and created samples based around the speaker designs

I also explored using the computer to create repeat designs. I then cut acetate stencils to use in my new printing screens. This was stressful, but great fun.

I used the design to create a shadow quilting sample - hand dyed wadding and cotton backing fabric.

This technique uses water soluble thread. I kept forgetting it was water soluble when trying to thread the machine need.... yup, when you lick to get it through the eye of the needle it disappears!

Taking inspiration from Rosie James, I created a stitch sample of a 1930's family gathered round the radio. 

This unit was quite unusual as I didn't need to create a large final sample, but I did experiment with all the techniques I had learnt and created this simple piece. I am pretty pleased with it!

I was so frustrated that this module took me 6 months... but the satisfaction of getting it and then getting great feedback made it all worth while.

I am currently plodding through module 6 which is different again - no more design elements to explore, just techniques to experiment with, samples to make and design notes for a large piece that I will be creating in the future... all very exciting!

Much love 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Once Upon a Star!

During my break from blogging things changed dramatically here, I now have an actual job as a Community Development Worker! It is a job a love and builds on the teaching I have done in communities around the county.

It has meant a massive shift in how my family works, I no longer have the freedom to manage my time that I had as a freelance teacher. It has been a major adjustment for us all, but one we have all come through still smiling!

I have been teaching around the hours I work - 3 after school clubs and weekend classes!

My monthly sampler class has just had it's 6th class and we have a selection of gorgeous blocks. We now have the fun job of creating the quilt top and exploring machine quilting. Another round of this class will start in September - more info soon!

Foundation piecing star
I recently met a lovely new student who is coming for patchwork lessons. We will be making a quilt using different star patterns and techniques. It is going to be a fun adventure in piecing.

Part of a Christmas Star

I mentioned the idea to my Saturday class who all asked to give the course a go - and a new class was born!

HST Star

The Once Upon a Star patchwork course will start on Friday 17th April at 10am at GL11 Community Hub in Cam. There are 4 places left if you would like to come along. Just email me too book a place.

It is going to be a wonderful adventure in piecing techniques to create a gorgeous starry quilt!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Travelling Back

Detailed shot of my City and Guilds coursework - I love the colours!

It has been a long time since I lasted posted a here.... infact it has been five and a bit months!

It was never a break I had planned - infact I had ideas lined up and things to show you. Then everything changed... and even when things settled down I found I was afraid to come back to my blog - sounds silly doesn't it?

But at 5.30am on a cold Monday morning, I have beaten the fear and wanted to say hello to the people who are still visiting my humble blog!

I have loads to share from the 5 months, sewing adventures and course work, which I plan to blog over the coming weeks.

Thank you for still visiting my humble blog - now the first step has been taken the next few are much easier!