Monday, 14 April 2014

Where to go next?

So, following on from yesterday's 'How come' post, this is a list of items I want to complete for the SWD Guild challenges / exhibition with 'final' deadline months .......

  • Crib Quilt - March 2015 (want to have at the Guild to spur on others to make things), so working towards May 2014 
  • Soft sculpture spider - March 2015
  • Lichen scarf/shawl - hand spun fibre, felted panels - March 2015
  • Teal / batik quilt (because the back panels are hand dyed fabric) - March 2015
  • Raffle scarfs / shawls - something for the teens - March 2015
Here's a little insight into my warped way of planning:-

Crib Quilt -
Two cotton pillow cases - tea dye these a nice soft tone - secondary fabric another hand dyed fabric or use hand dyed fabric scraps?
Design - something along the improv format with a fleece backing - time to visit my improv Pinterest board
These designs jumped out at me

Now my dilemma is my current stash of hand dyed fabrics - as you may remember I'm using them on the back of the Batik / Teal curve quilt
Teal / batik QAYG Teal / batik curves quilt
So it looks like I'd best stick with fabric scraps if wanting to use fabric from my stash.  Of course I could dye more fabric but for that I'd best consider a colour palette.  Something non gender specific to go with a pale beige or do I play safe and stick with white?
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Sunday, 13 April 2014

How come .....

How come, she we are busy and have a pile of UFO' s waiting to be worked on,or better still completed, we end up considering something new that needs to be given priority ....

I must learn to think before I speak poor before I suggest something ... you see, in being the current president of the Dumfries SWD Guild I've been thinking about the various challenges and exhibitions that we will be having over the next year to 18 months.

It's also had me thinking about stretching ourselves a little, in trying new things and thinking'outside the box'.  In mentioning it at our last meeting I suggested that we group items together for the raffle prizes, and making them more enticing and specific for folk to be able to select which prize they'd love to win - eg:  adult female, adult male, baby layette items, crafters supplies etc.

So now I'm thinking what can I shop to help inspire other members into making?  A scarf, a shawl, a crib quilt or a patchwork bib ..... And, this is in addition to trying to create a fabric sculpture (or two).

The simple fact is I must be nuts, but in all honesty I'm loving the challenge.  So who knows which item will be completed first, but I promise to share the journey with you - see you all soon.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

More news .....

I spent last night - ripping out and rewinding up the hand spun yarn from the shawl I shared with you yesterday.  

The closer to completion, the more I became unsure of the shape and how it would sit.  So I'm off to see what 'pattern' I'd like to try.

As I mentioned yesterday, it's that time of year again - for the SWD National Exhibition.  This year the exhibition will be at Hostry at Norwich Cathedral and the crypt of Norwich School (which is in the grounds of the Cathedral) from 15th May until 1st June 2014.

Last year I was amazed when my Jacaranda Dreams quilt was selected for the exhibition and this year another quilted project - a work bag - has been selected.  

Work BagWork BagWork Bag

I think next year I'll maybe submit the cushion I did for Fat Quarterly Aurifil tester, 

finished cushion
hopefully along with another hand dyed quilt project, (which has yet to be conceived and fabricated).

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A little play time .....

Last week I decided to make a little 8" bag for the open selection at the Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Guild National Exhibition.  I wanted something quick and easy to do that I could take to our Guild on the 12th April.

Inspired by Wings quilts by Kathleen Probst  - I came up with this sketch design

8" bag for SWD National Exhibition
and in a few hours had made this ......

8" bag for SWD National Exhibition 8" bag for SWD National Exhibition
Another last minute 'make' last week was to start a hand knit shawl.  I'd doodled a shawl shape towards the end of last year on some scrap paper at work and have periodically mulling over the how to's etc on how it could be made.  But last Thursday night I just hunted out the beautiful merino/silk yarn I'd spun up from Limegreenjelly. 

Shawl Shawl
Great progress so far.  I just hope it looks good - shape wise - when it's pressed .....

An, I've been doing a few sketches

Quilt design sketches Quilt design sketches Quilt design sketches

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

One Challenge finished - another underway

The deadline looms but - sigh - I've finished the Fat Quarterly e-magazine mini charm pack challenge.

Sorry, but there cannot be a big reveal until the magazine goes live, but here are a few sneak, peak photos.

I'm really happy with this quilt and love how it was quickly turned around.  The only negative point it the quilt label - it printed of great, it was made up just as I'd hoped, but I needed to do something extra to ensure the printing didn't disappear when washed.   So back to the development department for a lasting quilt label.  I will replace this one once I've cracked the issue with disappearing ink ;o)

Now that one challenge has finished I'm working on the SWD Guild challenge for this year - fungi, ferns, lichens, insects, creatures and critters.  

I have found inspiration around the internet and with our big Tri Annual Exhibition looming next year at the local Arts Centre, I'm going to work on a few projects.  One is well underway 
and another is slowly getting a stash of 'elements'

More on these pieces and the images that inspired them soon.

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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Sorry ......

I am so very sorry for the slack blogging.

Things have been a little involved here over the last month or two.

Last month was the Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Guild (SWD) AGM (I'm in my second year of three, as President), so there was a bit of planning and sorting out to be done for that. That meeting was quickly followed by some self imposed organizing in preparing a range of class / workshop / guest talk posters and ideas to pass on to subsequent committees - I'm still working my way through this) - you see I had this idea that rather than a list that some simple, fun and informative posters would possibly work better in sparking interest and support.

Here are a couple of them .......

It wasn't long after the AGM that emails started to flow in connection with next years Tri Guild / Tri Annual Exhibition.  This is a BIG exhibition at our local Arts Centre (Gracefield) that takes place every third year with the SWD's, the Embroidery Guild and the local Quilters Guild.  So I see meeting in connection with this starting in the near future.

In the background I've been quietly crafting away and promise to share some photos in future posts:-
  • Mini Charm Challenge Quilt - I'm currently binding this up hoping to get some decent finished shots for the e-magazine article.  I'm tweaking the 'how to make' pattern description, along with the 'how to' photos and am drawing up some pattern format guides.  I hope all is OK for Lynne and Co, for inclusion in the appropriate Fat Quarterly issue.  I've even found a quilt label format that I like - it's different from the usual but give me scope for adaption to suit each project, including knitting, crochet and weaving (when I get that sorted).  Now the label I can share with you and not give away too many secrets - see below.
  • SWD 2014 challenge piece - for once I've found some inspiration that has me starting work on the challenge piece well before the summer months - our themes this year are:-

  • Spinning - I'm working away on 300g of BFL hand dyed roving. I'm blending it with some silk and trying to create an ombre yarn and of course I don't make things easy for myself - no I want to keep the rovings colour format so I'm Navajo plying it so have to spin it up quite fine to maximize the amount of yarn created.
So my quilt label ....... I can't remember where the idea came from, whether it was in a dream or something I picked up whilst internet surfing but rather than a flat label which is stitched down onto the quilt back it's more of a tag label.  Something that I can sew into the binding seam that's double sided - a logo and quilt name on the uppermost side with quilt info on the back side.
I've put together another post with a description and photo's of how I made and sewed in the label, so watch out for it here soon.
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Friday, 24 January 2014

Charm Packs - One of this years UFO's

A quick and easy way to buy fabric and introduce yourself to patchwork are pre-cut fabric packs.

There are of course now a huge range of pre-cuts and of course the Moda Bake Shop is a great place to find lots of ideas for projects that you can use these pre-cut fabric packs to create something beautiful to share and use.

Of course I don't want to stick with any of the fantastic range of traditional pieced projects that are available - I just want to play and do something with an improv twist.

Take the Kona solids quilt - 1 pack of 5 inch charms, where I grouped them into complimenting colours and just cut them into strips of varying widths and angles then hand sewed them when on holiday with a background fabric.

When I came back from holiday there were 27 pieced fabric strips that had to be 'grouped' together in some way to create a block.

After a few of the doodles a quilt block design developed.

Once the three coloured strips were joined together I added another section to the block.  A series of Pepper and Glacier fabric strips of varying widths, all sewn with a slightly curved seam, with the Glacier fabric strips all being quite narrow to reflect the narrow strip joining the coloured sections of the blocks.  I again varied how these 'end fillers' were made up from block to block - some would have 3 Glacier strips and others only 2.
I also made the decision at this point to make do QAYG panels.  Therefore it became 3 long horizontal strips, each made up with of these blocks, which would be made into a strip by sewing in a Pepper fabric panel, again using a curved seam to suit the shape when the edge of each block was trimmed down, (I wanted to minimize he amount of fabric cut away, which would have been a lot if I'd decided to go with straight seams).  

Then came the process of deciding on the possible FMQ patterns to enhance the quilt.

After considering and ditching various designs I decided to quilt only the Pepper fabric and stitch in he ditch around the edge of all of the coloured fabrics.  I also continued the thin strips joining the charm strips by leaving a thin un-quilted section along the edge of each of the blocks.  So far on the one horizontal panel that I've quilted I've kept the quilting confined to the three blocks and the fabric panels joining each block.  There is, I suppose you'd call them sashing fabrics to the outside edges of the 3 blocks and I'm considering a different quilting pattern there.  You see I'm wanting to limit the quilting in this area as it will also include the area were the QAYG panels will be joined together.

I promise to keep you up to date with this quilt when it gets pulled out of the UFO pile later this year.
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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Feathers - is it just me?

When I  started my Pinterest 'scrapbook' one of the first boards was 'Inspiration - leaf, tree, feather'.  As time has gone on I've constantly added images/links to this board.

In considering ideas for a mini charm pack challenge one thing I've been looking at was feathers, but have you noticed the, almost, daily increase of feathers in quilting projects since the turn of the year?

We of course have many considering FMQ feathers - a technique that just 'has' to be mastered ............

For example my blogging friends Joan and Marjorie have working hard on improving and getting to grips with feathers on their domestic sewing machine
and another blogging friend - Jenny - who very recently blogged about these 'modern feathers', which she did on her long arm quilting machine
OK, feather quilting is pretty much a given but what about feather quilts - well yes there are plenty of these floating around too .........., here are just a few examples that I love
These are just a few examples of feathers - quilts and quilting that I've seen around at the moment - have you seen something feather wise that has amazed and inspired you?  I'd love to know if you have.  I also think that this year I may just keep a look out for a feather quilting challenge and give it a go, unless I just jump in like Marjorie and go it on my own.
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Until next time ..... create and have fun

links provided to quilting blog/s - click on description below photos 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Improv quilts - how do you .......

Improv quilt, contemporary quilt, modern quilt - how do you classify them? and which format do you create in?

In my constant exploration of the internet over the last few years there are certainly some quilts out there that instantly reconcilable as 'belonging' in each of these categories.

Now I'm likely to differ from some of you might ID a quilt but here are some that I've found and love and how I'd categorize them:- 
(NOTE: all links take you back to the original photo source/s)

Improv - shortening of improvising
Meaning - to invent, compose, or perform with little or no preparation /
inventing variations or creating with a set progression of pattern /
to make or provide from available materials
Contemporary / Modern
contemporary - current; modern
modern - of or relating to recent times or the present / 
characteristic or expressive of recent times or the present / contemporary or up-to-date /
of or relating to a recently developed or advanced style, technique, or technology /
avant-garde; experimental

I would say that I'm tending to work in a more 'improv' format in recent years, as I seem to 'invent, compose and create with little or no preparation'.  

There has been a tendency to work towards minimizing the fabric wastage in what I've been making. So more often curved seams are used in lieu of squaring blocks off, and lots of scraps have been kept and used for making up strips / blocks as well as maximizing the use of stash fabrics (where possible).

Sometimes I'll sketch out a possible quilt idea / layout, and I do mean 'sketch', a really loose doodle on some scrap paper.  No graph paper, no careful thinking of fabric quantities etc.  It's really just a 'flying by the seat of your pant's' process when it comes to creating the quilt.  In a later post I'll go through my hap hazard process for one of my 2014 UFO projects - the Kona Solid Quilt.

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