Thursday, 21 November 2019

Finished!!

As you can probably guess from the title of this post, I have finished my feathered star quilt!!


I am absolutely thrilled with the way it has turned out.  It is my first real attempt at combining precision piecing with free motion quilting.  I normally opt for an easier, more relaxed style of quilt (i.e. quick finish!)


It gave me such a lot of pleasure making this and I think I will definitely choose to make some more quilts of this style in the future.


I'll leave you with lots of photos and wish you all a lovely upcoming weekend!  I'm off to celebrate my grand-daughter's first birthday!!





Monday, 4 November 2019

Some more progress....

After my last post in which I showed the progression of my latest project from completed feathered star block to four borders on, I thought you might like to see how the quilt has grown since.


I have never made a medallion style quilt before but, I have looked at many in books and on the internet and I know that many of them include an appliqué border, so that is what I decided to add as the final border on my quilt. 


I found the tulip appliqué shapes in a Debbie Mumm book that I have had many years and I adapted them to fit the size of the border I wanted to added.


I used scraps of the fabrics that I had used in the pieced section of the quilt and I was pleased that I had just enough of the aqua/teal blue striped fabric to add a few dots so that it was represented elsewhere in the quilt and not just in the narrow border. The next stage was to layer, baste and then quilt it.


I am not used to quilting this size of quilt and, it has been a bit of a challenge here and there but, overall I am really pleased with the outcome.


Yesterday I started quilting the outer border and, I wasn't sure whether I should quilt the appliqué shapes or not.  In the end I decided I would and I am glad that I did as I am really pleased with how they look (apologies for the loose threads everywhere in these photographs). 


Now, I am looking forward to finding time this week to finish quilting the remaining borders and then to get the binding added.


Tidying up all the loose threads and finishing the binding is my favourite part of making a quilt as the whole quilt suddenly seems to come together!

Thank you for visiting and wishing you all a lovely week! 


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Having fun with my feathered star block......

In my last post I mentioned that I wanted to turn my completed feathered star block (I made it at the recent quilt retreat I went to) into a medallion quilt and, I showed you a rough sketch of what sort of border I had been thinking about adding.  Here I thought I would share with you my progress to date.


Above is the finished star block (it measures 18 inches square) to which I added another narrow border in the background fabric to make it sit nicely as a central panel for a medallion quilt.  Below is the finished central panel.


It was at this point I started playing with ideas and sketches as to what sort of border I should add next.  I was hoping to have enough of the lilac 'feathers' fabric from the star to make into flying geese for the next border, which is why I had coloured them purple.


However, when it came to cutting and piecing the flying geese blocks, I found I didn't have enough of that fabric to use.  Instead I picked out the green which featured as little squares in the original block.  I was very happy with how this border looked and was inspired to add some more borders to grow the quilt.  


I decided that I needed an accent colour to make the whole thing 'pop' a little, so I added a narrow border in bright teal/blue.  It measures just half and inch in width but, I really like how it lifts the whole quilt.  Next I added another one inch background fabric border at which point the quilt measured 27 inches square.


I already knew that I wanted to add a wider border for the next addition but, I wasn't sure what type of block to use and I didn't want to just add a plain border.  After sketching a few more ideas I decided that I liked the idea of using diamond shapes in the border to reflect the shapes from the original block.  So, I set about piecing 40 squares set on point using scraps of each of the fabrics from the centre panel, I then pieced them into a border and added it.  The piecing was fiddly but, I really love the result.


At this stage, I would have really liked to have added another narrow teal/blue border but, I didn't have enough fabric, so I have added a darker green, spotty fabric.  The quilt so far measures 35 inches square and is getting to a nice size.  I have one more border that I want to add before I will say the piecing is finished but I need to play with a few ideas, so you'll have to wait a bit longer to see that!


Thanks for visiting and hope you are enjoying some creativity this week!


Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Since my return.....

Since my return home from the quilt retreat in the French Alps, I have been very busy.  Firstly, catching up with household chores but, also busy in my sewing room too.
  

When my youngest daughter last visited us here in Switzerland, she asked if she could choose some fabrics to make a baby quilt for her boyfriend's sister who is expecting a baby boy.  As my daughter is new to sewing/quilting, I helped her get used to the sewing machine and helped with the cutting, etc.  She then pieced the baby quilt into a quilt top.


There are some fused appliqué shapes on the quilt which she wasn't yet confident to finish the edges of, so I helped her with that too and, as she then headed back to work in the UK, she left the quilt with me to add some quilting. 


I have now finished the quilting and I also added the binding, so the quilt is finished and ready to be given.  I think it will make a lovely gift.


I have also been playing with sketching ideas how to use the feathered star block that I made while I was away.  I want to make it the centre of a medallion quilt and, so far, I am thinking of adding a flying geese border, using the same lilac fabric that I used for the 'feathers' in the original block. I have drawn this out to see how it looks.


The colours I have used are not an exact match but it gives you an idea.  I think I will add the borders one at a time and then decide what to add next once each border is completed until I get to a size that I am happy with.  So far, I like how this is looking, so that is my next project this week.


I have also received another embroidery template in the series designed by Anne Brooke of H-anne-Made which I ordered before I went away and, I am really looking forward to getting started on that so that I can add it to the others I have finished.

Hope you are all enjoying lots of creative projects.... until next time! 😊


Thursday, 3 October 2019

My first quilt retreat......

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend my first ever quilt retreat.  It was a wonderful retreat organised and run by Elita Sharpe of Busy Needle Quilting.  I stumbled upon Elita's website by chance looking for a supplier of Aurifil thread in Switzerland and immediately had to investigate the 'Alpine Retreat' section!!  When I discovered that the retreats were held only an hour and a half away from where I live, how could I resist!!


The location for the retreat was Morzine in the French Alps.  I had never visited Morzine before but, was familiar with the name as my three children went there every year for 10 years on school ski trips!! It was a beautiful location and the chalet we stayed in was lovely too.  Warm and welcoming, as were Elita, Gina and all the other ladies at the retreat.


Our first project of the weekend was a mystery project which turned out to be based on a 'disappearing pinwheel'.  There were lots of options to choose from based on this block.  As I had taken only two fabrics to make the quilt I opted for an option that would work best using just two colours.


So far I have just pieced one complete block but, I did piece lots of half square triangles ready to piece enough blocks to make a lap size quilt.


In between working on the projects provided by Elita and Gina, we also worked on our own projects and I was able to finish off a special project which I have made as a Memory Quilt for my Father-in-Law.


When we visited England a few weeks ago for his 90th birthday celebration, I took with me lots of little fabric leaves. I got each of the guests attending to sign a leaf and I have now made them into a 'Family Tree' quilt as a keepsake of the occasion.  I used a pattern called 'Memories' designed by Kellie Wulfsohn of Don't Look Now!


All the participants at the retreat had been assigned a 'Secret Sister' for the weekend.  The idea being that you left your 'Sister' little gifts and notes to encourage them throughout their stay.  It seemed like each time you left your sewing machine a new little gift item appeared with an encouraging word to lift your spirits.  I received some fabulous gifts from my 'Sister', Juliet.


We had the most delicious food and played some games, including fat quarter dice swap which was a lot of fun!!


The next project of the weekend was trying out a block called the 'feathered star'.  This is a block which I would not have attempted on my own but, with Gina's invaluable help, I managed to complete.  I am thrilled with the result and I will be using my block as the centre of a medallion quilt.


We did have a little excitement on Saturday afternoon when the power went out for 6 hours and we had to have dinner by candlelight.  Of course, when the power came back on at 10 pm we were all itching to sew and I don't think many of us got to bed very early!


I also managed to finish matting up my latest embroidery finish which I stitched using a pre-printed panel designed by Anne Brook of H-anne-Made.  When I returned home I was able to pop it straight into it's frame.


It was a most wonderful weekend and as well as everything that I have described above, we also had a little 'stash attack' project which we made within an hour using scraps and there was, of course, chance to buy a few little bits and pieces of essential shopping!!

Thanks to Elita, Gina and all the lovely ladies at the retreat as well as the owners of the Chalet where we stayed who made us all so welcome.

 

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Time for a catch up!

Where did the time go since my last post?!  All I can say is that is has been an exceptionally busy Summer for me this year.  It started with two beautiful family weddings in June, followed by my youngest daughter's graduation from Medical School in July as well as a second graduation for her intercalated MSc.  As well as these very happy events July was also the month that my Mum was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, so there was anxiety too.  I am pleased to say that she has had surgery and is now starting to regain her strength.  In August we did some travelling, ending at a Folk Festival near Thame and the last celebration of this Summer was this last weekend when we had a party for my Father-in-Law's 90th Birthday. Phew!!



So, bearing all that in mind, it will not surprise you to know that I didn't get enormous amounts of stitching completed!!  I did manage to take a few portable projects with me here are there and I thought you might like to see them.



To make things easy, I decided to treat myself to a couple of pre-printed embroidery pieces to stitch.  These were designed by the very talented Anne Brooke of H-Anne-MADE and are great fun to stitch. 



I have now finished the embroidery on both of these panels and have managed to frame the first. 




I decided not to frame it using an embroidery hoop but to make a fabric panel with a circular aperture in the middle which highlights the embroidery instead.  I am really pleased with the outcome and I am hoping to get the second one framed this week.



Before I was away in July, I had also started work on a small machine embroidery project of my own design - a seascape. 



I was able to add the hand details to this while I was travelling too and I have now finished and framed it and I really love it!!



Finally, while I was in the UK this past weekend, I managed to talk my husband into entertaining himself for the day (luckily we have a niece and her husband who lives in Lincoln who looked after him!) so that I could attend a workshop at the fabulous Needle and Thread Workshops run by Sally.



The workshop was taught by one of my favourite textile artists, Cathy of Dear Emma Designs and I had great fun there making a sweet little free machine embroidered lantern.



The whole day was superb and if I can, I would like to go to another workshop there!

Well, I think that has just about covered everything that I have been doing.  I hope you have all had time to be creative over the last few months.  Look forward to catching up with you all again soon! 😊 

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Just popping in.....

This is just a short post this morning.  I thought I'd pop in and show you the completed embroidery which I teased you with a few snippets of earlier in the year.  This past weekend we were in the UK for a wedding and I had made a small embroidered gift for the bride and groom.  As they have now opened their gift and, I promised to show you the finished embroidery that I had made for them, here it is....



Most of the background is appliqué with machine finishing but some of the details (the leaves on the tree to the left, the grasses at the front and the bees) have been hand stitched. I framed it in a box frame and, I was really pleased with it and now I know they like it too!

Thursday, 20 June 2019

An update on my nautical quilt....

In my last post I gave you an update on the nautical quilt I was making using a pattern from the lovely book by Lynette Anderson called 'Nautical Quilts' and I had shown you the pieced central panel with the stitchery and appliqué that I had completed to that point.



So, what have I managed to do since then?  Well, the next stage was to add some more appliqué and stitchery to the empty sections of the central panel (across the top and to the right hand side).  These had to be added after the panel was pieced together as some of the appliqué extended over two blocks of pieced fabric.


Then a narrow border was added to the central panel, followed by a pieced border using strips of the same fabrics that had been used for the appliqués in the centre.


Next, I layered and basted the quilt into a sandwich ready for quilting.  I have to admit that since I have improved my FMQ skills the quilting now holds a great deal of excitement for me in the quilt-making process.  I love deciding how I am going to quilt the quilt top.  For this particular quilt it seemed to make sense to break it down into sections and decide how to quilt each of those sections.


I started with the middle section (I like to start in the middle and quilt out) with the sailing boat.  I quilted around the the sun and then a spiral pattern in the top half of the block like the wind in the sails.  I also outlined the boat and sails and then quilted some wavy lines like the sea in the bottom part of the block.  


Then, I was away for the weekend at my niece's wedding (which was really fabulous!) but meant I couldn't work on the quilt.  However, as I still hadn't decided how the rest was going to be quilted, I took a print of a photo I had taken of the top and doodled on it while I was flying to the UK to try out how I might quilt it.  This really, really helped and, when I returned I was ready to get back in my sewing room and get quilting.


I quilted a loopy loop pattern in the block around the bunting at the top.


I outlined the string of fish and gave them a pebbly background which extended down to where the seagull is.  To make the background around the seagull look a little different I added a spiral here and there too.


Next, I echoed around the compass and outlined the directional points.  


The lifebuoy was surrounded with pebbles and filled with straight lines.


The final block to quilt was the four fishes in the bottom, left corner.  These I quilted very simply.  Firstly, outlining the shape of each fish and then, with my walking foot around each of the squares inside and outside of the line of running stitches.


Finally, it was onto the border which I chose to quilt in a sort of chequerboard pattern.  I marked a grid and quilted densely in some which left the others free to puff up.  I transitioned from one side to another with a big spiral in each of the corner squares. 


The final step was to bind it using a binding tape which I made using a tape maker.  I then glue basted this in place one side at a time and stitched through from top to bottom in one go.


This is the first time I have tried this method of binding (which I read about in the book 'Quilts Made Modern' by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr) and, although a little fiddly, was a lot quicker than the usual method of sewing to the front, turning to the back and then stitching. 


Et voilà one finished quilt. 


Sorry if the photos are a bit fuzzy in places..... I use my phone to take them and I'm not much of a photographer!!  

Thank you for visiting 😃