Saturday, 17 August 2019

How Many Times Can One Quilt Be Finished?

Today's post was going to be an update on some bags I had been making, just for fun, I seem to be in a project making mode. Then I saw that Yvonne quiltingjetgirl had a similar blog post. I really like and admire Yvonne, her sewing is brilliant and her photos, often taken by her talented husband are out of this world. My iPhone snaps pale in comparison. So, that is for next week. This week ladies and gentlemen, I shall unveil a finish to you.


No, it is not the finish I showed you last time, this is the finish more finished. You may remember I showed my economy square quilt for my grandson. The quilting was rather basic, done and dusted but rather unimaginative. He was coming for a visit (along with his parents) and I wanted a finish. Then I decided it needed finished properly, so the quilting began.

I left the centre picture square unquilted. I stitched around the outside of the square, in the triangles, then stitched an additional 4 lines across the width of the triangle, then outlined the triangle. I repeated this on all 4 sides. This inner triangle was patterned fabric.

I moved onto the outer triangles, the plain kona fabric. Here I again outlined the triangle then stitched three vertical lines from the centre of the bottom, one at 90 and then 45 and 135 degrees. I am sure there are proper mathematical names for all these lines and angles, but I can't remember and can't be bothered looking them up. Sorry Dad, he was an accountant and loved triangles and angles and degrees. Hypotoneuse (?) and obtuse come to mind, or maybe obtuse is just me! You know what, I will end up googling this to satisfy me.

I repeated this through each square. Lots of shoulder tensing and sore muscles. Do people do this for every single quilt? Yes, I guess they do. Of course, because I never have any plan, I see all the things at the end. If I had been more accurate in my quilting, all those outer triangle angles would have lined up nicely. For someone with OCD about matchy matchy that would be the road paved to hell. Luckily for me, I am happy with an organic look, but I did think, it would be nice if all those lines lined up together at the end.

One thing I do wish, I wish I wish I wish I hadn't done the original quilting in the ditch lines. It doesn't disappear into the quilt as much as I had hoped it would. It looks rather sloppy and I either should have taken more care when doing it, or preferably, not done it all. I did toy with the idea of unpicking it all, but that way madness lies.

 Not only would it take forever, but there is a distinct chance there might end up lots of rows of little needle holes. And that would not do at all. In fact I am working on another secret project where such a thing happened around the neckline, and it wouldn't do at all, at all. Its not that the project itself is secret, it is just it is for an event. The event isn't secret either. Well, I will explain all in the end.

I tried as much as possible to blend the thread with the fabric. I wanted more quilting but not to stand out much. Hence the quilting is mostly done with those moon threads, you know, the polyester threads that come in every colour of the rainbow. On the rare occasion when I have had either a gutermann or aurifil quilting thread that tied in, I can see it is much superior.

The quilt is completely finished now. I can honestly say that, however it isn't handed over. My husband goes through stages with my quilting . It is like the seven ages of man. It goes as follows:

What are you doing now?
Who is that for?
Where do you think you are going to put that?
Haven't we enough quilts about the house?
You do know I really like that?
Why do you always give the good stuff away?
Why can't we keep it ourselves?

This quilt though is for our very own grandson. I am more than happy to give this to him. I did however have another quilt for him too. The Through The Window quilt, which was possibly more of a younger child quilt. This was slightly smaller and so easier to transport and his mum had liked both of them. The grandson himself had liked them both too, and then pointed at the economy square quilt, but he may have been guided by me. Just to keep life interesting for him, I took the other one over to England in my hand luggage.

He will get this one too. But I hear a rumour that there might be a few days away next year en famille to celebrate my coming of age and hopefully getting a free bus pass. This surprise, will, I believe, involve a few days in a house at the coast and this quilt be perfect then for picnics on the grass in the sunshine or more likely  stories and snuggles in the rain.

As I draped this quilt, another quilt, over the back of my finished quilt draping chair in the sun room I had a fond memory. I have two quilt draping chairs, one in my sewing room for nearly finished quilts and then this help yourself to a quilt dining chair. Last summer we had a post wedding party here for my American daughter in law and her family. My husband tidied up and put them all away. When the daughter in law came into the  house with some of her bridesmaids, she said, "oh, where have all the quilts gone? I told my friends how you always have a pile of lovely colourful quilts over the chair". Off rushed the husband to put back the quilts, whilst I smiled, not too smugly I hope. I just took this photo, and the joy of summer in the UK, sunshine to torrential rain with 5 minutes.

At this stage, I think I now have finished up 4 quilts this year. I have my huge Kaffe to quilt, but I think it is time to dig out some of those deep buried works in progress and have a look. I have a request for two new garden quilts. The current garden quilts migrated to the living room last summer and never returned to the garden. Send in a search party if I don't return! And I remember something about a quilt with pigs on it too.

Leaving you with a last photo. Remember when everybody used to go a rolled up quilt photo? I loved to see the binding. Here' my rolled up photo, the quilt with Felix the hare, bought when the grandson was born.

Helen x
linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Finished Or Not Friday

Monday, 29 July 2019

Oh The Irony

Oh the irony of it at all. Two weeks ago I had  a FINISH. The same week as bloggers all around the world were linking up their finishes in the Finish A Long. Not me, I hadn't signed up for last quarter. I have signed up for this quarter, in my last post, but this quilt sort of fell between the goalposts so to speak.

Anyhow, I have a finish, or what seemed to be an interim  finish. My son, daughter in law and grandson were over for a visit. I gave them the choice between two quilts for my grandson. The first was made for him, blocks from a bee I was in when he was born. My What's Out the Window quilt, backed with planets fabric. Not all of the blocks have children's fabric, it is still bright and jolly.

I had also been making this economy square quilt from charm squares of kokka fabric, bought for me as a year's subscription from the Eternal Maker by my daughter in law. I started making this before he was born, but gradually began to realise it would make the perfect I spy or story book quilt. So, there was a mad spurt to finish this so he could choose.

Really, at 2 years old, he doesn't really understand the history of them both, but he did like them both. If this was a Referendum vote on Brexit, he gravitated 52% towards the story quilt. He will ultimately get them both, but for now, it is the story quilt.

I promised to finish the quilting and deliver it next visit. I just did straight line, not in the ditch quilting, in what seemed a neutral aurifil. Not so straight at times, and not so neutral in the darker toned blocks! Over a public holiday, we were heading to visit my sister in her caravan. We were driving "the scenic route" so took the quilt for an outing.

We took the photos at the Spelga Dam reservoir in the Mourne Mountains. Not quite "where the Mountains  of  Mourne sweep down to the sea" (Percy French 1896 song beloved of ex pat Irish people everywhere), but near enough. I don't want to link to you tube, in case of copywrite of a singer, but go there and listen. Lovely.  I love Spelga Dam. It is not far from where I grew up in a nearby town. We often drove through the mountains, sometimes a destination and walk, not hike, in itself, sometimes en route to the seaside. For a child, there is something exciting about Spelga Dam. I still don't understand it but a parked car, with its handbrake off, appears to run backwards up the hill. It is some sort of freaky physics thing. No idea, but it is fun. And last summer, the summer was hot, the submerged buildings under the reservoir all reappeared. People were queuing up cross the hidden roads! I have linked to a news report, hoping this works.

I hope you enjoy these photos, and attempt at a video!

 How do these vloggers do it?

I particularly love the granite walls particular to the Mournes. It is a real skill for the stone masons to repair the walls. It really is a patchwork of green fields and granite walls. Also particular to the Mournes area, are pointed gate posts. This was so the faeries couldn't sit on the gate post and magic your cows. They went to annoy the cows of another farmer instead. As kids we loved these stories, and always watched for faeries, but never ever saw one, no  matter what my brother said.

After we came home, we looked again at the quilt. My husband suggested a bit more quilting to hold it together for all the rough and tumble it will hopefully go through. And so it started. The quilting is a blog post in itself. Let's just say, the handover is imminent and the clock is ticking! As always, a bit more quilting takes a lot more time than anticipated. I always did work well to a challenge!

Helen x
linking up with Beth Cooking Up Quilts

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Finish Along "I will finish these" 2019, 3rd qtr

Oh my, two weeks since I last blogged. And what have we been up to? A weeks visit from our English grandson, a whirlwind in our presence. Just coming two, he is full of that never ending energy, climbing, swinging from door handles, crawling under over and through. I had forgotten just how full on a two year old is. And then we had more excitement, we have a granddaughter now in USA. That's the thing about love, you think the grandson has all your love, and he has, and then all of a sudden the love expands to take in another little bundle. Mother and baby, and dad, doing well, and now I can embroider the details on my quilt label.

And this brings us round to the Finish A Long, 3rd qtr for 2019. I missed the sign up for last quarter, a shame as I had quite a few finishes! I am sure I will be able to rustle up a few this time too. Here goes:

1  Kaffe Fossett quilt.  Privately and secretly and under my breath known at times as the Kaffe F****it quilt. I do love it really. It is basted, and all ready to start quilting.

2 Ambleside quilt. This may just look like a charm pack. It is a charm pack, with some added fabrics. It is however planned to be a quilty present for a good friend. I was sure I had two charm packs, but I can only find one. We will manage, we always do.

3 Fire burst quilt. The binding just needs to go on my Fireburst quilt, from a quilt a long with Tish.

4 Kingfisher quilt. I love this, Liberty fabric EPP on kona brights. I would love to finish this and get to use it.
5 Liberty EPP. My longstanding project. I can't finish this! When I finish this, my work here is done. I do love it and enjoy just looking at it. It has its own straw basket.
6 Mr C's Guernsey. This brings us into the knitting. I thought this was the jumper I knit my husband 30 odd years ago. He was right, it isn't the same jumper! It is a second jumper I intended to knit him. Ho hum. I am nearly but not quite up to the armhole division on the body, and I have a half of a sleeve done.  The autumn, September would be better is my deadline for a finish on this.
7 Amos Sweater. For me. Only one short sleeve to finish and the sewing up and neckline. I have run out of one of the two yarns used, so some creative work needed on the sleeves. Nearly finished.

8 Breton Sweater. For me. I will run out of yarn for this too. The yarn was bought 3 years ago for a poncho. I have 3 ponchos. How many ponchos can one woman wear. Four is too many! So, I am knitting a sweater, but have 8 skeins and not 10. Watch this space.

9 Floozy Cardigan. For me. As yet theoretically not begun, but half way done in my head. 

10 Yet another project bag. Some nice pink linen bought in a charity shop, large napkin sized, currently sewn along one side to a white linen napkin. Unlike ponchos, I can never have enough project bags.

11 Christmas cottage and gnomes. Don't laugh. Please. You can't say anymore than my husband has.

Well, I could add more, but I think this is enough to be going on with.

Helen x
linking up with Sarah Sew of Course and Finish A Long

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Ready and Waiting

I have a finish ! Ta Da! It is the same finish as I showed you last time, except this time, its a proper finish. I finished the quilting and the binding on my #beothukstar, which I have called the #coulterbabyquilt.

 From today this quilt is no longer the #beothukstar, this quilt is renamed as #coulterbabyquilt. The quilt formerly known as .....

Some of you may know, but we grandparents are eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new grandchild in July, this time in USA. An addition to our happy band of one who lives in  England. I don't know about the parents, but I am ready! My quilt is made, just awaiting the name and date to embroider on.

The finished quilt measures about 40" or so square, a nice size for a baby quilt I find. I did much more quilting in this than normal. As I said in the last blog post, each completed section just seemed to flow into the next. For me the quilting is quite intense, yet it is still subtle when looking at the quilt overall.
Here is the centre star all quilted.

And one of the corner stars. I am feeling rather pleased with this.

Just for a quick recap, I used all Liberty fabrics, picking fabrics that blended quietly together. The backing is Liberty fabric too, you can be extravagant when it is for your own grandchild! The plain white is a kona cotton, snow. And of course, I bound it in Rose and Hubble spot. I believe the baby's bedroom is painted pale green, so this will be perfect. This baby will be spoiled for quilts, the American granny is a quilter too, and the baby's aunt and great aunt. No shortage of quilts here!

My daughter had an old university friend over last week, her Cornish imp friend. Miss H has made an appearance here before, I have previously knit her a hat, and made her a quilt. The quilts were made some 8 or 9 years ago, pre blogging days. I was pleased to hear that her quilt hangs over her chair in work for those draughty afternoons, or dare I say it, Friday afternoon snoozes! Her visit gave us an opportunity to drive up the North Coast, or Game of Thrones land as it is now known and get some photo opportunities!

We took the photos in Ballintoy Harbour, used as the home of the Kingdom of the Iron Men in Game of Thrones. It is a pretty stone harbour, nestled in a natural harbour. You may notice the clouds in this photo as opposed to our not a cloud in the sky day. The photo below is "borrowed" from google images, apologies to for copyright infractions.

 That part of the coast is twisty and windy with lots of rock formations, it is just around the corner from the World Heritage Centre, the Giant's Causeway. There were many many tourists there. Ballintoy in particular is a tourist draw, particularly to Americans and Germans I always think.

We had some fun taking our photos. I reaffirmed to myself that I don't like heights. I was only about 12" up on the rocks, and I needed a hand getting down! A rock climber I am not. There was great interest around and about it when we were taking photos. Two different American ladies stopped my daughter and her friend to ask about it.


And then of course I took a couple of photos of my latest shawl. This is called Seagleam and is the first pattern in the Shawl Society4 designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.

 My yarn is "she runs like the wind" from Ellie, Craft House Magic. The greenish blue was just exactly the right colour for this.

 A few weeks ago my friend, Liz and I had taken a photo of the yarn at the Herring Pond in Portstewart.

 It has been a while since I have written a knitting post. I have knitted a couple of baby jumpers and have simultaneously knitting a sweater for both myself and my husband. Extreme knitting! I know how to live dangerously.

Last week I got a fantastic parcel. Many years ago, I "met" Deborah through blogging and instagram. Many years ago Deborah and I swapped coasters. Or rather Deborah's son and I swapped coasters. This year she was kind enough to make me a cushion.

 I love my elephant cushion, it also blends well with the coaster!

We have had a sudden blast of warm weather so it has been lovely reading in the garden, leaning on my cushion.

Since writing this blog post, I have just learned that my #beothukstar quilt has won a prize. Hurrah! I have won a 6 month subscription to the ezine, Make Modern. Now I can read this whilst leaning on my cushion in the garden! Not with the beothuk quilt though, that is for the new baby. I wonder? Do you think I have another quilt I could use for myself?

Helen x

Monday, 17 June 2019

Forty Winks

We have reached the end of the #Beothukstarqal, the link up opened on Saturday, on what would have been Sandra's Father's birthday. Cliff used to tell her the 15 June was the birthday of "A very important Canadian". I haven't yet linked up, though I did post an instagram photo on the day.

 I was hoping for a finish today and a photo opportunity tomorrow, but I went for 40 winks.

With my usual straight lined minimalist quilting this quilt would have been finished. The quilting has led me in a different direction. I have heard people say, the quilting leads them. Well, in case it has. As I have quilted each bit, I have found myself thinking, I'll just do this wee bit here, and then this wee bit. It has just evolved, but then that is my way through life. I know where I want to go, but am not sure how to get there, and it just bumbles along. Generally in life it has worked out, as it has in this quilt.

I outlined, or rather inlined just inside the four corner stars. I picked a neutral Aurifil quilting thread. The one with the orange casing, the 50/2. I'm not sure what that actually means, but it is the one used for machine quilting.

Next up, I outlined the centre popping star. I wanted to see how the star popped, to see where I was going. The centre of this star is four Liberty squares. I did some narrow straight lines, a foot width apart, either up and down or across and back depending on your point of view. This led me to follow the lines of the square on point that's around the central block. Five lines of quilting within this square. I liked how this intersected in the corners.

I decided the corner squares needed some extra non fussy fussiness. I started running straight lines from the two corner points, to the opposing two corner points. Then I did the same in the opposite direction. Again, I am happy now some of these lines intersect, some don't and some parts are quilting free.

I had already started quilting triangles within the outer triangles, but finished these off. And that was where I had got to at the weekend.

Sunday was Father's Day.  I had my lie and breakfast in bed as usual, which is a routine that suits me very well. I decided the best present for my husband, was for me to take myself off and sew, leaving him in the peace and quiet to re order his vinyl. So many ways to order it on the shelves ... by genre, by title, by artist, chronologically. I thought he would enjoy that.

I disappeared into my lair, my kingdom, which I share with the tools of the trade, my washing machine and tumble dryer. Originally I planned to put an armchair in here, but we put a wine rack in instead. The central square seemed to be leading me towards something more. I quilted 5 offset squares inside the offset square of Kona snow. This in turn led to another 5 lines of half triangle in the last white triangle of  the central square. I have almost completed 2 of the 4 repeats of these blocks. And this brings me to today.

Today we went to a viewing of an Art in the Garden exhibition at the local Culloden Hotel. It had been curated by a local art company, Gormleys Fine Arts. The art work in the garden was very interesting, some the usual sculptures of women, some whimsical, some fun.

Inside the exhibition continued, there were works and paintings by renowned artists, Dali, Picasso, Banksy, a great coup for Gormleys. We were lucky enough to escape the rain and then went for afternoon tea. Which was scrummy. If you look behind me, you can see a Banksy hanging on the wall. As they do, on the average wall.

 Strangely when we got home we were both exhausted! I settled down on the sofa to read for a bit, and promptly fell asleep. For a whole lot of hours! Goodness knows how I will sleep tonight. Anyhows, that was my sewing time today. The plan had been to finish the last two sections leading out from the centre, some zig zagging around the border, and sew the binding on. Tonight I was going to hand sew down the binding whilst watching an excellent programme on preventing plastic pollution. Tomorrow take the photos, blog and link up. Well, it will probably be too wet for photos tomorrow anyhow! Its just Mount Stewart is a great place for quilts in the wild.

You never know, I might have finish before the week's out and replace my link up. I will leave you with a shot of the back. I like how the quilting disappears in, and I have a little label in the corner all ready for me to embroider on. And the binding? A green spot I think. The baby bedroom, or nursery, as they are called today, is painted green.

I have really enjoyed this quiltalong, It has been fun, manageable in size, and time. Sandra's designs are always spot on as they say.

Helen  x
linking up with Sandra, mmmquilts
linking up with Beth, Cooking up quilts