Friday 30 April 2010

Big Easy Bag

After "inventing" my very useful Mat & Ruler Bag I decided to "invent" another useful bag... one to carry your fabrics and things.... or your shop in some cases!!!
Yes, Joan the Shop comes to Forsbrook every week with her "shop" in plastic bags, sometimes a black bin liner!!!!!

This must stop, it doesn't look good for those who might be tempted to join us, he he he
Have you ever tried to make a bag without a pattern? It makes you appreciate all the effort that goes into those patterns you know.

So, using the same basic method as the Mat & Ruler bag I have managed to invent this prototype, I know now which bits need 'tweaking' so I have bag number 2 half way done too. If I am happy with that... I will show you how to make one.... should you wish to know.... if not... just skip past it, no problemo!

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Uttoxeter Quilt Class

Jenni finds it uncomfortable to wear gloves whilst quilting... it's hard to get control of the fabric with only your bare hands as your skin doesn't have enough grip. You can kind of 'grab' the quilt in both hands, but that doesn't help you get smooth movements, not at all... so here's a tip I learned from Philippa Naylor. That shelf/drawer liner/ none slip stuff? rubbery stuff? Cut yourself a couple of small rectangles, one for each hand! it works very well... see, Jenni took a few minutes to get used to it and then conceded that it is a big help. The two pieces Jenni is using were cut from a roll that Dotty Maureen had purchased for only 99 UK pence... bargain!
AJ's blocks are looking fabulous, I think we are all loving it more every time she adds another round, it is quite stunning. If you have any of that fabric in your stash, the colourful one, and you would like to part with it, please e-mail me... AJ would like a bit more and it is sold out in our local shop, it might not be recent fabric though because it was in a sale.

AJ has been inventing at home too, a wonderful bag to carry her quilty supplies and two lovely pin cushions... she is enjoying her new sewing machine so much!
I have to share this with you... I had to get something out of Jenni's little 'Barbie wardrobe' (the Aurora one!) I discovered this brilliant invention of Jenni 's..... a pin through the middle of a rolled up tape measure!!!! how obvious... now, why didn't I think of that?? I get so fed up of mine springing out of it's roll and getting all messed up and tangled.....we all got out our tape measures and added a "Jenni Pin".... put one on your tape measure, it works a treat!... do you think I should patent the idea? If you can't find a Jenni Pin in a shop near you, email me, I will sell you one, in a posh packet.... £2.99 ??? he he he... well... that's what the big companies do isn't it?
We meet next on WEDNESDAY 5th May, 10am - 3pm with lunch in the middle!
and..... I feel I have to share this too... those of you who know my Fiskars story? Here's my new rotary cutter... to replace the 'faulty one' he he he

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Alton Quilters

Clare bought a few packets of 10" squares of fabric from the Uttoxeter quilt show a few weeks ago. She brought them with her to our meeting to get ideas of what she could do with them. She wanted something easy to do, something that would give instant satisfaction that was fast to put together... she didn't want much did she! he he he.
Clare decided that these framed squares were perfect... so she went home very inspired, happy and completely satisfied!

Monday 26 April 2010

Quilty Quarters

All done... I chose to meander all over this quilt, big squiggley lines are very easy to do and, in my opinion, were perfect for the style of fabric in this quilt. The binding is on, yes it is the quilt I used for that little tutorial on joining binding... had you noticed already? I needed a hand stitching project to take on our road trip to Warwick... you can see that I didn't get much stitching done at the quilty day though can't you!!
I shall take it to the Alton Quilters meeting this afternoon, and try to talk a little less!! he he he

Sunday 25 April 2010

"Quilting With Friends"

Oh yes "Quilting With Friends" new friends for me! This event was organised by quilters in the Warwick area. It was held in a fabulous church hall, large, clean, great light, great facilities and loads of parking... quite easy to find too, he he he.

I saw lots of swapping of e-mail addresses, blog pages and telephone numbers.... New friends, old friends, they were all very content!

There was a very helpful talky bit which I enjoyed... ladies bought in their quilty purchases to say whether they had been useless or brilliant ideas. One lady was using this iron on one of the demonstration tables, the electric plug is almost as big as the iron!.... the cutest thing?

The maker of this quilt thought it was too bright! I loved it! I don't think it is too bright at all

The owner of this one is in the process of hand quilting....

This is one lady's first ever quilt, she was lovely, she told me that she had managed to buy herself a second hand Horn cabinet, which she is very proud of!

These quilts were made as a group 'Round Robin' project... every one is very different... considering they all had the very same instructions... interesting eh!

These next photos are works started at a Rick Timms Convergence workshop

This little quilt was made at an Ineke Berlyn workshop.....

and this is a project that fascinated me the most... apparently it had been in a magazine a while ago, tis on my 'I want to make one' list now... but I will be machine quilting mine and finally using some of those wonderful stitches on my Bernina!

We had a fantastic day, stitching, looking, chatting, listening, laughing... all the things that most of us quilters just love to do....
it was a 1 1/2 hour journey for Dotty Maureen and myself but well worth the effort, I will let you know when Warwick's quilters organise the next one, just in case you want to go too.
AND... I will endevour to organise a similar day up here in Staffordshire.... that's how much fun it was!

Forsbrook Quilt Group

Joan The Shop's Peppa Pig Quilt, for Alicia, is now a sandwich.... It will be quilted around the stars using her walking foot and, once Joan has had a little more practice with her free motion, curly whirly quilting will be added to the star centres.... well, that's the plan!
Helen joined us for the first time, she bought this pattern and fabric from the recent Uttoxeter quilt show, so she needed to learn "how to".... this fat cat is stuck down with Heat & Bond for now but he will be stitched using the Bernina blanket stitch next time... isn't he cute!
Brenda Barbara couldn't join us as she had to work.... she 'popped' in to spend her lunch-break with us (which was lovely) She delivered a magazine for Joan.... here we go again... there is a rather large brown and red quilt in the magazine which has now moved to the top of Joan's rather long 'to do' list.... she was already planning how much fabric to purchase... the quilt on the table there is one half of a double size quilt, the blocks are made for the other half... Joan is working on the border 4" Churndash blocks.
Shirley Lerly is making the Chunky Churndash quilt. She has now perfected stitching with an accurate quarter inch seam and the hour glass blocks meet perfectly in the centres... so she can crack on at home.

This is Dotty Maureen's little quilt, Disappearing 9 Patch, sometimes written D9P for short. It's a fun design to make. Dotty needed some hand stitching ready to take on our road trip on Saturday so she will be hand quilting this one.

Friday 23 April 2010

Brilliant Binding How To...

I have given you a basic and very, very simple way of joining up the ends of your bindings...
Now I have a different way for you. It may seem very fiddly at first, but the results are wonderful... it is worth persevering because no-one will be able to find your join with this method!!!

1. You will need to leave good long tails at both the start and the end of your binding strips, the longer the tails the easier the join will be....

2. I recommend 5"... 8" will be perfect... this means that you will start sewing your binding on 5" - 8" down from the start... and finish sewing 5" - 8" before the join end..... thus leaving the tails as in this picture.

3 Pin the start of the binding in place and mark the end with a pin, then lay the other end on top of that and cut it 2 1/2" from the pin... exactly 2 1/2", not even a mouse's whisker more or less!!!
these measurements are for 2 1/2" wide binding only...
IF your binding is only 2 1/4" wide you will trim a 2 1/4" distance... if your binding is 3" you will trim 3"... OK??

4. You can just about see here that there is a 2 1/2" overlap with the start and the end of the binding strip

5... you don't see it there? how about this?

6. Now lay the end of the binding open and flat on the table, my ruler is only there to hold the fabric down for my photo....

7. fold up the quilt to allow you to place the beginning end ON TOP diagonally, just like making a mitre... in fact it is another mitre!!

8.. holding with pins, drawer a line from corner to corner....

9. sew it along the marked line... this is a fiddle, just fold your quilt a little bit to allow you to do this. take out the pins....

10. try the binding in place to see whether it has worked perfectly before you cut anything!!!, if you need to adjust it , unpick the seam and do it again perfectly!.. only then trim away the excess triangle... just as when you were joining the binding strips

11.. lay it all flat against the quilt edge and sew with walking foot!!!
That's all there is to it!

It's easy!

When Our Birte Left Us...

At the end of my last post I sent a 'secret' message to Birte, asking her to send a picture of the quilt in the background.... you might have noticed my 'secret' message , written in Birte's favourite.... pink!  She sent a photo, so I can show you the quilt in full... we must have liked Birte an awful lot because we all worked happily on this surprise for her..... at the time Birte was 'popping over' to my house an awful lot because she lived very close to me... she was in the process of leaving Portugal because of her lovely husband's job so I think she suspected we would do something .... we kept a great secret.... someone had to go into the sewing room every time the doorbell rang to gather up any blocks or 'give away' fabrics while I distracted Birte at the garden gate....... we had such a laugh doing it. Birte laid on a fabulous lunch for the whole group and we presented our quilt to her... oh, the floods of tears!!!!... she was speechless... and that is a very rare thing with our Birte, let me tell you!!! This is the note she sent with the picture..... "Yes it is the one you all gave to me. It is hanging in our living room, so I can see it every day and remember all the nice quilters from Portugal . Sometimes I get a little bit sad" ... but she is sad because we can't meet up every Thursday any more... not because of the quilt!

Birte's Bible Quilt

It's called the Bible Block Sampler quilt because all of the blocks have biblical names... like Jacob's Ladder, Heavenly Problems & Solomons Star.
Birte has been working on this quilt, with her quilt group of three ladies, for over a year. There have been times when the group wanted to give up as they have found some of the blocks very difficult to put together, they changed three of them as they "did not fit".

From Birte's e-mail, I sense that she is very relieved to have completed this top!
I hope that you have all noticed that it isn't pink!
Birte, is the quilt on the wall, at the back of the photo, the one we made for you when you left us in Portugal? Can we see a better picture of it please?

Thursday 22 April 2010

Mat & Ruler Bag

I'm feeling very proud of myself... gloat gloat... he he he
My Mat & Ruler Bag tutorial is being used by lots of people and I am receiving e-mails of thanks!.... big smile on my face!
This one was made by Helen in Portugal. As you can see she modified the ruler pocket....
Once we quilters have the seeds of an idea... we run!!!
Birte will teach her quilt group in Germany how to make a bag too... we really need to protect those mats from the sun, the cold and from bending up as you lean then by a wall or table or chair leg, so a quilted bag of your very own is perfect, and pretty, and practical....
If you make my Mat & Ruler Bag, I would love to receive photos....

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Quilty Quarters

I decided on the flooofy squares fabric for the backing because I now have another plan to use the fishy one. I made the sandwich this afternoon and have started the quilting, just large meandering with beautiful thread, I should get to finish it tomorrow (Thursday) because I did sooooo much housework today!!! I even have the food ready for the next few days, he he he.... I must have spring fever eh!

Uttoxeter Quilt Class

AJ (Angela That's not me) has started on the centre blocks for her Log Cabin quilt (Lilly's Colours on the right side bar) Wow... this quilt is going to be wonderful, I love the red triangle.... I made a mistake and had AJ cut 2 1/2" strips instead of 2"... sorry AJ! She cut more strips 2" wide... no point in wasting a half inch strip by trimming the others down if we don't have to... but it could mean she has her binding strips already cut?
It took Lizzie almost all of her last meeting to make only one of these pineapple blossom blocks, this meeting she made a big pile of them in the same amount of time. She has the instructions printed out from, they are very clear and easy to follow.
Dotty Maureen was inspired by the D9P (Disappearing 9 Patch) quilts you can find online, so she made one of her own, with tiny pieces.... she took great care to get all the seams lined up and accurate, which is a good thing to do if it pleases you!
Giggly Gillian finished her very own Mat & Ruler Bag and moved on to her Scrappy Chunky Churndash blocks. Each centre will be fussy cut from cat fabric like the one in this photograph.... she's making it for cat lovers you see....
Messy Maureen had to carry her very own, brand new, sewing machine today... she had gotten very used to me having it all set up for her when she arrived, now that she bought it she has extra work to do before she can start stitching... but the 'cuppa tea' still comes first! ha ha ha

We meet again next Tuesday 27th April.... once again the tables are all taken so there are no spare places, sorry.
Please take note.....
Our meeting for the following Tuesday, which would have been 4th May, has had to be moved to Wednesday 5th May and will include lunch... but that's a 'full-up' day too, he he he.

Tuesday 20 April 2010


I found this brilliantly simple tutorial about cleaning and oiling all front loading sewing machines ... it is very easy to see exactly what you should be doing to maintain your sewing machine in tip top condition.
It has a short video that does show a Bernina but is relevant to all front loading bobbin machines.... and I hope you will spare a few minutes to watch it.... especially all of my ladies from Portugal, Liz & Ian and Jenni as I know you all have wonderful Berninas & Aurora babies that need this special care, to show you love them!

As the tutorial states, you should clean your machine after only 8 hours of stitching, not after 8 months or 8 years!
OK, go do it.... go clean and lubricate your machine... and while you are there... treat yourself to a new needle eh!

Mat & Ruler Bags Galore...

I am so proud of my ladies, all of today's group agreed to have their photos taken with their fantastic Mat & Ruler bags. It's great to watch the ladies arrive smiling with their handy bags over their shoulders....
Dotty Maureen made paper pieced notions to use for her 24" padded pocket on one side of the bag and added a pocket for her 12 1/2" square ruler on the other,... AJ (Angela that's not me) saw this was a brilliant idea and added one to her bag too....
Don't they all look fabulous together!

Monday 19 April 2010

Quilty Quarters

It's finished... I couldn't make my mind up about the borders,.... then decided not to add borders, last change of mind... add everything with uneven stripy borders! I like it and that's all that matters....
Right... more decisions now... this is brushed cotton/ flannel stuff, it would be perfect and it's lovely and flooofy-soft. Has all the right colours, they're brighter than they look here, I have plenty enough for the backing.....
or this Makower cotton fabric?... again, I have plenty for the back (and another quilt or two actually, he he he) I bought 8 metres of it years ago to make a Stack-&-Whack Kaleidoscope quilt but then I didn't want to use it because it was expensive.... you don't need to 'tut' at me... I've 'tut-tutted' at myself enough, thank you very much!
Anyway.... it has all the right colours and it's cute!...
So, fishy or flooofy-soft?.... or keep digging to see what else I come up with, ha ha ha, that's the fun part!