Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Sewing Camp

I'm back after 5 wonderful days of sewing and nothing but sewing. DH calls it Sewing Camp - but perhaps it should be referred to as a sewing retreat. It's a heavy photo edition this time - be warned.
Lots of us from our village group attend these five days - but we can't share cars as when you take ALL of your fabrics and kit there isn't room for sets of it plus 2 people. You can see my car was rather full and my front seat had my machine strapped in. Luckily for us it's only a 25 minute drive away at Quorn Hall.

Here's our room where 9 of us slave away over our machines. It's a very relaxed atmosphere - we have a good laugh and can top up with tea and coffee when we like. I'd hate to have to clean it after we've finished as the carpet is covered with threads.
Each summer the week has a theme and patterns are supplied in relation to this - however you don't have to do any of the patterns supplied you can do your own thing - that's what I decided to do.
The main thing I was keen to make progress with was my bright quilt - which I think will be called Sunburst. I've managed to add the borders, make the back (see the photo below) and sandwiched it together. I did try to machine quilt a few rows - but I didn't think my efforts were good enough. I then had to unpick the rows. The others in the room were really helpful and gave me lots of tips of how to make a better job of it next time - but with hindsight I really need to make some smaller ones before I jump in to machine quilt a larger quilt.

We have Christmas Day on the Sunday - yes I know it's July. In preparation we make presents for each other. This year we drew names out of a hat and had to decorate a book for that person. I had to be very careful as my nominated recipient was sitting next to me - but luckily she popped off for a morning so I cracked on. You can see the book cover below. I was pleased with it and so was Sarah J.

Christmas Day is also spent - by most but not all - make Christmas items - I photographed some of the samples below. Most in my room opted for the Stocking - I think perhaps some wished they hadn't. I should say all of the girls are really proficient and talented at quilting and can sew very well. But this Stocking proved to be a real pain in the bum - it too them ages and took considerable brain power. The photo doesn't really show it but it's actually got 3 pockets so you can fill it with lots of little things and they stick out in an attractive way. I'm glad I opted to plod on with my own thing.

Here we are most of my room having Christmas Dinner - and yes we do have Christmas Pudding too.

Here's a photo of some blocks I made - but I need some more cream material for the borders and some backing too. I'm really pleased with it.

I also made a small cot quilt top from a charm pack. I tried a new style for me - crazy patchwork. I was really pleased with the results.

Just before we leave we have a show and tell so everyone can see who has made what. It great to see the same patterns being made in different colourways. It does take a while to get through the 40 of us.
I'll post some more photos tomorrow of the show and tell and also of the items I made from the demo. Each day after breakfast we have a demo and the idea is that you can then make it during the day - this time the demos were for a desk tidy. a sashiko pincushion, tissue box cover and I demod my raggy cushion. It's nice to have these little things to make as it breaks up the day and you do get to finish them.
I really had a great time and I'm so pleased I booked today off as leave as I'm shattered. The only thing you stop for is to eat and to sleep - and the rest of the time you sew.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Brenda's class

I didn't realise it had been a week since my last post - sorry about that.
We had another great class with Brenda at the Bramble Patch. Luckily the brook at the bottom of the car park kept at the same high level and didn't break into the car park. The photos above a piece I worked on on Saturday. I traced the shape of bricks onto freezer paper and used a craft knife to cut out some of the shapes. I ironed the freezer paper onto the rust dyed fabric I'd made last week. Using the Castell Pit Artists pens I coloured in the fabrics areas and the freezer paper gave a nice crisp edge. I will probably embellish the piece more - but I'm pleased with it as a starting point. I used the pieces I'd cut out on another piece of the rust dyed fabric and coloured around those - again another good starting point.

And here I am drying all of the bits of fabric I've bought over the last few shopping trips. Unfortunately the washing machine broke last week so I had to wash and wring them out by hand - you forget how long it takes. I've collected a new washing machine today and hopefully we'll have it fitted tonight.
I was also busy printing off lots of images onto fabric I'd pre-soaked with Bubble Jet Set 2000 and ironed onto freezer paper. These images will be cut up and used in a few different ways - I'll share these with you another time.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Getting on...

It's surprising what you can get done when you ignore all the other stuff that perhaps you should be doing. But I've managed to get the main part of my quilt pieced now. I don't think the photo really shows the true colours - the band across the middle should be red and it looks a bit pink to me. I think it still conveys the idea of the colours moving across the quilt.

Planning the border may take a few days as I like to work out what I need to cut - and then walk away and then double check if my calculations are correct and also check if I have enough material. I also need to have a think about whether to hand or machine quilt. At the moment it measures 39 by 51 inches - so even with a border it's not too large - well not compared to the last one.

A huge thank you to all of you who posted such nice comments about my last completed quilt. It's so nice to know you're all out there. I do reply to comments posted but I know some have the settings so this isn't an option.

Thanks again and I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Block progress

I'm already cracking on with the next quilt. I find it really exciting to start putting blocks together and to see how it works on a stick sheet. I've just got one set of blocks to make for the main body of the quilt - I'll put those together and then start thinking about the borders - I've already got a few ideas.

I went to Kisko (The Fabric Guild) and bought some really interesting fabric. I promise I'll take a photo and put it on the next blog.

Hope you all had a good weekend. The weather her is really volatile. We go from having torrential rain (yesterday) and then bright sunshine (today).

Friday, 13 July 2007

At long last ......

At long last it's finished. My first large (96 x 78 inches) quilt.

I'm really pleased with the pieced binding. It took a while to finish off - but I really like it.
I've still got a bit of tidying up and I need to add a label - but the hard slog is finished.

So I feel a bit lost now without a huge quilt to sit and stitch when I fancy.
You can see from below I've already got the fabric for my next project from Strawberry Fayre. And yet again it was great service - really fast. I've washed the fabric and now it needs a good press. I also need to make sure I think about how the cut the fabric so I don't end up with lots of bits. The larger pieces I'll piece to make the back.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Summer party

Last night was our quilting group Summer Party. And just like last year we ended up inside due to the rain. The worst part of it was it had been so nice and sunny during the day and about an hour before the party started you could see the clouds rolling across the fields and you just knew it would rain. We all took along food and our fabulous hostess provided the Pimms. It was a really nice evening - just sitting and chatting - and eating some really great food.
I'm still at my large quilt - but I've only got 2 corners left to go now - so hopefully I'll get those done tonight or tomorrow and will then be able to trim it up ready for binding. I've worked out how to do the binding - but it'll be single and not double.
Almost forgot to say but I've got a bit of an experiment going on in the garden at the mo. Not too sure how it'll work out - rust dyed fabric. I'll share the results in a few days time.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Sunny weather

Honestly - we've had sun for a day and a half now. This means everyone has dashed out to mow their lawn - if they were anything like ours it was 2 foot long in places. As you can see from the photo above the garden is very wild. For those of you who've been watching the Tour de France from London you too will have seen that we've had sunshine. You can't believe how wet it's been - when it's rained it has rained for hours at a time and really heavily - there were even hailstones in some places. We have another show in the village and it had to be cancelled as the ground was so wet and it was thought too many vehicles (lots of horse boxes) would get stuck. Hope you're all having the right weather for the season you're in.

Anyway I have been crafting. I've made another raggy cushion. This one is for a demo I'm giving at our sewing retreat at the end of the month. I've still go to write the instructions but I don't think that'll take too long.

I'm also STILL hand quilting my rather large quilt - but the end is in sight. I'm on the final border now. My aim is to have finished the quilting by the time I go to sewing retreat and then to put the binding on whilst I'm there. I made the binding up last time I was there with scraps - and I've just measured it and it's 1.5 inches wide - ohhhh I think it's going to be tight but I'm sure it'll be fine.
I'm still amazed by the number of red dots on my map and the number of hits on my page - I'd love to hear from you all.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Cat update

Just thought I'd share a couple of photos of 2 of the cats. Flo - ready to pounce and Dennis doing what he does best - sleep. Why do they all love boxes so much and will squeeze into them what ever size. At least he's happy.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Completed work......

It's a minor miracle but I've actually finished a couple of things. The first photo above is the example that Brenda pinned up for our class last week. The idea is that we paint / colour pages and use these as our sketchbooks and use them to develop ideas and audition fabrics. As you can see - Brenda's are very good.
Below is my completed four page sketchbook. The idea was to use lots of different techniques to colour the pages, acrylics, watercolour, pastel chalks, oil pastels and scrunched up tissues paper. Stitching on the paper was OK - if you went slowly - and of course I'll change my needle now as I'm sure it must be rather blunt.

This page has a photo on with samples of fabric added.

A photo with the picture extended by stitching - with a gauze to distort it.

This page includes examples of stitch patterns on felt plus photos.

And finally a page of threads corded to the page with some netting added and cut.
The idea really was just to have a play - I've never done anything like this before.

And here - at long last is my dry stone wall piece. It's now fully embellished - the idea of embellishing the binding was from the Thr3fold launch the other month. Again this piece is a sample of new techniques - another adventure into the world of creativity.
So today I've got to do the ironing......