Monday, 23 February 2009

Batik Butterflies

After talking about applique in the last posting I thought it was about time I introduced you to the applique quilts on my list of things to be getting on with.

This beauty was a BOM from a fantastic online fabric shop in the UK called The Contented Cat. If you're looking for fabrics with cats on them this is the place to look.

I believe it originated in the US and it was great fun to do. I love hand applique and having a little package arrive in the mail each month was fantastic ... and I didn't even have to think about the fabric choices as it was all done for me.

It ground to a halt when I reached the border stage. If I remember rightly you were able to choose either a purple or a blue batik border and I opted for purple. I'd seen the original version from the US which had a lovely bright purple border but when the material arrived it was more of a red wine colour which didn't really appeal to me. The simple solution would have been to choose a new border material on my own and add the original one to the stash but BOMs are more expensive in this country than in the US and at that time the budget wouldn't stretch any further.

So I haven't done any work on this project for around two or three years. Looking at it now I realise I still have some antennae to embroider and a gremlin to sort out. If you look closely at the top picture, centre bottom picture you might see where I had a cutting accident on the batik border that didn't repair too well. I think I'll need to take these blocks apart and change the batik triangle. A bit of work I know but I'll be happier with the final result.
I'm not sure what I'll do with quilt when it is eventually finished. It's not big enough to put on the bed but too big for a wall-hanging. I always planned to hand quilt this one so I'll have plenty of time to make up my mind {grin}.

I have another BOM from this store and will post some photos next time around.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

More quilt festival purchases

Mea culpa - I confess! My shopping excesses extend beyond those on the last posting.

When I got home on Friday I sat browsing the magazines I got at the quilt show and also the latest issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine that had been sitting in my 'to read' pile. A couple of patterns jumped out and it was back to the quilt show on Saturday to pick up the supplies ... I'm a bad bad girl.

I just loved the indigoes in the flying geese pineapple quilt in QNM and have had a hankering to try some foundation piecing so it all fitted in quite well. I came home with 3 metres of lovely snowy white tone-on-tone and some reproduction indigo fat quarters. There would have been more as another stallholder had a bundle of matching FQs but they weren't taking card payments and I had no cash left :c( . Retailers that only take cash at shows must lose out on a lot of business! Anyway they have a shop not too far away from me so I'll pay them a visit soon.

The second pattern that caught my eye was a technique using applique to reproduce the curved piecing of the lover's knot block. The version in the magazine uses a green tone-on-tone on a plain white background. However I saw a lovely delicate blue sprig fabric that I think will make the perfect background and go well in my bedroom. I haven't decided yet whether to use a single fabric for the blocks or a mixture of different ones. I think I'll try a few sample blocks to see how that might look. Just realised - it seems like my pink phase is over and I'm back to blues! I just love applique as it's so portable although I've been reading Dawn Cameron Dick's book on Invisible Machine Applique so maybe I can use the excuse that I'm learning a new technique!

Can you see that furry foot in the botrom right hand corner? That's my quilty cat who insisted on getting in on the picture. You should have seen the ones that didn't make the grade - noses, backs, tails galore!

Now I think I'm a bit different to a lot of other quilters in that I very rarely buy fabrics just because I like them and want to add them to my stash. I usually buy with a particular project in mind - either one that is on the go or on the 'to do' list. Or I buy particular fabrics because they go well with a group that I already have and am saving for some as yet unknown quilt. I might see a fabric and think that is is lovely but I don't say "I must have some of that". That said, this is exactly what happened on day 2 of the show.

The stall from the Contented Cat had a bargain basket with a variety of half metre pieces for only £2. One particular piece caught my eye and then when I went digging I came across a number of others from the same collection. I came away with 10 half metres in the end and no idea what I might use them for! Maybe it's that spring fever hitting because they just zing with bright fresh spring colours. They are from "Innocence" by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman. If you have any bright ideas please let me know.

I'm just heading off to put away all my lovely purchases ...

Friday, 20 February 2009

It's Spring Quilt Festival time

This weekend the Spring Quilt Festival arrives in Edinburgh for three days. So I trotted along with my mother this morning and had a nice day browsing the quilts and spending rather a lot of money at the stalls.

It's not the biggest quilt show in the world but I have to say that the display was rather disappointing. I took along my camera and didn't take a single photo! The entire exhibition was made up of quilt collections - quilts from an English quilt group, antique quilts, students of a teacher called Jenny Lankester, a retrospectives on three different quilters, and the quilts from the "Jelly Roll Quilts" book by Pam and Nicky Lintott. The festival challenge was " Fun with Folk Art" and there were only two entries. No place for the ordinary quilter on the street to show their work.

So much of our time was spent going round the stallholders looking at new fabric ranges and gadgets, drooling over the book stand from Kaleidoscope as usual, and buying some bits and pieces for projects I have on the go at the moment. Here's what I came home with:

Backing fabric for my seaside romance quilt so no excuse for not getting on with that scary machine quilting and some magazines from the US. I really like the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine but its quite difficult to get hold of here. I also browsed some mags I hadn't see in the flesh before such as Down Under Quilts, Fabric Trends and American Quilter. Unfortunately I'm still waiting to see the Mark Lipinski magazine that everyone raves about.

The fabric here is from Andover's Meadowsweet range and is my bargain of the day. It's for the sashing and border for my Meadowsweet Geese quilt that I haven't shared with you yet. The collection has been out for a while and I thought I'd struggle to find any left let alone the exact fabric I wanted. But there is was and for the bargain basement price of £4.00 a metre. Yippee - I was almost swinging from the lights. Also got another couple of FQs for the top. I also picked up a pack of foundation and freezer paper sheets from Laurence the lovely Man from Rio Designs and a nifty tool from Jenny Beyer to help with my hand piecing. He also took me through the Dear Jane software and I think that it will be featuring on my birthday list in the near future!

Now I've got everything I need to be getting on with my meadowsweet geese I promise I'll get a photo uploaded over the weekend.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Cadbury's Chocolate Boxes

Next up on the roll of shame ... Cadbury's Chocolate Boxes - and how appropriate for Valentine's Day!

So called because the fabric range is Moda Chocolat with each design being named after a type of chocolate. And everyone on this side of the pond knows that Cadbury make the best chocolate! And for reference Cadbury's chocolate in the US is not the same as that in the UK being made by Hershey's to a different recipe.

This time I'm following a pattern from a book called "Nickel Quilts" by Pat Speth and Charlene Thode. I have no idea why charm squares are called Nickels and perhaps someone can enlighten me.

This book is a feast for the eyes with lots of fantastic patterns for using up charms and of course your scraps. There are a number of patterns in this book that call to me but I started on this one - a variation on the stretched star block.

The fabric colours (and the chocolate) remind me of something warm and comforting so I'm thinking about putting some flannel on the back of the finished quilt. I can just imagine myself curled up on a seat by the fire snuggling into the quilt. I've never worked with flannel before so that will be an interesting experience.

Anyway, no chocolate for me today as I'm on a diet ...