Thursday, 28 June 2012

Plain Stitch Simple Sampler - Class Quilt

Ta Dah! This is the Simple Sampler Quilt for the quilt school I am going to teach this autumn. Its designed to showcase a range of techniques to give you a real nuts and bolts basic skills set by the end. We will make a range of blocks from classic nine-patch, through working with triangles, curved seams and applique. This is my favourite style of quilt, the blend of traditional patterns with their layers of history and meaning, but reinterpreted in modern colour schemes for our homes today.

Over the period of the course we will make blocks together, making a finished quilt by the end of the course ( if you're diligent with your schoolwork and don't mind a little bit of homework!). By the end of this course you will have covered all of the basics to allow you to attempt more complex projects - be warned, quilting is highly addictive!
The course is 6 classes run over 3 months between September and early Dec. The daytime venue is the Ellesborough Hall in Butlers Cross, between Wendover, Great Missenden and Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire. It's a gorgeous location, on the fringe of the Prime Ministers Chequers estate with amazing views of the Chiltern Hills wrapping around the hall, you can see on a map here. The daytime classes are on a Friday morning, the dates and details can be found by clicking the Autumn Classes tab at the top of this page. The evening class will be at the Kimble Stewart Hall in the next village of Little Kimble, see the Autumn 2012 Classes tab for more details.

I'm really excited about teaching this quilt, I love helping people make their first quilt- it's going to be lots of fun, oh... and there will be tea and cake too, of course.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The 50's Picnic Quilt

I'm starting to try out the old memory now as we go back in time through all-of-the-quilts-i-ever-made and we are only on last year with this one! I adore the colours on this quilt. They just shout out 1950's kitchens don't you think? I paired them with some fabric that's usually known as 'shirting', which I think means its a repro of 1800's fabrics that would have been used for shirting? Anyway its an offwhite with an almost duck egg bluey beige tinge and little spots and stars, lovely - but really hard to match to anything in my stash. This quilt was originally envisaged against a crisp white, but somehow these fabrics really worked against the brights and gave a really soft vintage feel. The pattern was I think originally from an old Better Homes and Gardens quilting magazine
The quilt is made up of two pieced blocks, quarter triangles of 4 prints to make one square and then three pieced rectangles of the backing fabric ( i used three different shirting prints) to make the centre squares. Its really simple when you get the pattern locked down, but it's one of those quilts that take over your floor while you piece them, which with three young kids and a dog means these quilts always end up smaller than I might like!
I used the leftovers for the back, I really regret not buying more of this fabric, it would have made a wonderful patchwork squares quilt wouldn't it? After this experience I now only ever buy half metre cuts or larger, I find a fat quarter always leaves me short. I hand quilted this top using circles in each of the square sections. I drew around those ikea plastic beakers that I am sure EVERY family with kids has! I use them loads as quilting and applique templates, a really useful size.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

My Favourite Quilt

Ok, so just in case you've just dropped into this blog, I am attempting to catalogue all the quilts I have ever made by getting them out and giving them their photographic moment in the sun! At the moment I am working backwards through time, so this quilt I made last year. Now usually the actual very quilt I am working on is my all time favourite, then the next, then the next! I am fickle, or always optimistic? But as of last year this quilt has found itself at the top of the table of love.

This quilt is an English paper pieced traditional hexagon quilt. It is made completely of scraps and from my stash and the reason I love it so is that it is the story of all of the other quilts I made in the last 3 years or so. Every fabric in this quilt top I can tell you where else it appears in my quilt gallery! Ok now I so sound like a nerd, but I love that its kind of a snapshot of my fabric tastes at that time. Perhaps I will make another one in another 4 or 5 years and see whats changed. I'm sure the fabric nerds out there can have some fun playing 'my stash eye spy' seeing what fabric we have in common! I also love that the Barbara Brackman quilt historians of the future wont break a sweat dating this one in a 150 years time, its almost a catalogue of the popular quilt fabrics of the day, Amy Butler, Cath Kidston, Liberty, Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt, AMH, The V&A Quilt exhibition - go on, can you spot them, leave me a comment if you do - big respect and all that!

As well as the meaning of this quilt I also just love the method. I don't make my hexagons the traditional way which involves cutting card or paper templates and basting the fabric over them and then whipstitching the hexagons together. Instead I prefer to make the hexagon shapes out of freezer paper, ironing to the wrong side of the fabric then pritsticking the fabric backing around. Then I whipstich together in the traditional way in long strips, which are finally joined to make the quilt top. The reason I prefer the freezer paper method is, well i'm kind of lazy and don't like the idea of sewing that gets pulled out at the end makes me feel tired, plus the freezer paper hexagons are a bit more durable than whipstitched ones (or perhaps its just my basting!) and as this is the kind of project that gets dragged about at the bottom of my handbag for any snatched sewing opportunity in cafe or car outside school, that matters.

This quilt is the perfect summer project as you can make it totally by hand, and completely out of scraps or fabric you already own. In fact its perfectly 2012 - it's portable, frugal and fun, think of it as a summer austerity quilt! My MakeClub group are currently making this pattern as our 2012 charity quilt. Its even more fun when you get to share the scraps, rustle up your friends and have a go!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The Apple Core Quilt

..........shown hanging in an apple tree.

This quilt is made from a traditional pattern called apple core that is drafted by drawing a circle and intersecting it with another either side to give the basic apple core pattern template. A friend from my MakeClub made this pattern first and I loved it - I had to try it - straight away. Without much pre planning I grabbed this stack of colours that were awaiting a project. It turned out that they were great for this project being big prints and quite clashy, so lots of contrast.

To be honest when it was finished I wasn't sure if it was.........well, really me? It was a bit too bright, even brash, but its a great summer picnic quilt, shows no spills and always brightens the occasion even if the suns not shining on your picnic (which is most picnics this summer!!). Its a great pattern, I will make again someday, wouldn't it be great in red and crunchy apple green?