Friday, 9 June 2017

We and I

We are all unique and different from each other, yet we often have to run in the same direction and do  as we are told - or do we?

Maybe sometimes we have to look around and ask ourselves if "we" is really more important than "I" and if what everybody does if really the right thing to do.

Those were the thoughts I tried to render in this piece, which - from sketch to sleeve - took over a year to complete. You can have a look at the previous stages here and here. This post is about the quilting and finishing.

As you can see, each horse got his or her own quilting pattern, to stress their individuality in addition to the different fabrics used. I used my beloved YLI variegated thread for some of them, and plain cotton for others. As most of the fabrics are patterned, the quilting don't show very well, but that's OK because the texture of the manes makes the quilt look very busy.

The felted manes are inserted into the seams of the top and then stitched down in some places to create the feeling of motion. The eyes and nostrils were added to define the faces, yet I kept them very stylised in line with the overall feel.

I didn't want to restrict the horses' motion with a frame, so I chose to face the quilt, letting the manes overhang on the left-hand side. It finished about 93 by 165 cm (36'' by 64'') if I remember right, so you have to take a couple of steps back to take it all in :)).

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Mary
Finished or not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
Free Motion Mavericks at Lizzy Lenard Vintage Sewing
Can I get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Hands Across the Border Exhibition - Aurora

This Tuesday I attended the official opening of the "Hands Across the Border" exhibition organised biannually by the Irish Patchwork Society and the Quilters' Guild of Northern Ireland. This year's theme is "Aurora" and it proved to be a great theme with multiple possible interpretations and really strong visual impact.

The room is large and well-lit, but there are only two walls available for hanging quilts, so they are a bit crammed together. The  opening was a very nice affair, with opening speeches by Ruth Bourke of Charlie and Ben's Crafty Corner, our chairperson,  and Leo Enright, space journalist and writer, wine and party food, but mostly lots of talking and discussing and just catching up.

I took loads of photos of quilts, but it's impossible to fit them all here, so just some:

And some close-ups, I'm afraid the names of the authors are not really visible, and haven't got a catalogue, so apologies for leaving them nameless:

Lovely batiks and really inventive border treatment here.

This goes to show how far a simple straight line quilting can take you!

Not shows well in this photo, but it really shines with Angelina fibres.

Fabulous texture and colour in this beauty.

This one is called "Sunrise, sunset" and I love love the clever difference between the two parts.

 Lovely hand-dyed fabric here and nice sense of motion.

And last, me with my "Dance of the Goddess":

I'm going there again on Monday, so I might take some better pictures to share and make Part 2.

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie

Friday, 12 May 2017

Racing on...

Just a quick update to show off the finished top of my horse quilt. (The beginning is here if you haven't seen it).

It's almost two meters long, looks rather imposing up close. The manes are working ok so far - they are inserted in the seams, but I'm still going to arrange them and partially stitch them down when quilting. Another thing that will change the appearance is going to be the horses' eyes and nostrils- I'm not sure yet but they will probably be appliqué of some kind of glossy fabric or faux leather (any suggestions are welcome!) It doesn't have to be realistic, just mark the face.

Quilting is still under consideration as well, I think I'll have a different filler pattern for each horse. Hope I'll soon be able to show you the end result.

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Finished or not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Wait Loss - Off We Go!

I've been watching the Wednesday Wait Loss link up at Inquiring Quilter for several weeks now, and today I have a perfect project to share. I made a sketch for this project about a year and a half ago, and only got around to making it a couple of weeks ago. First, I made a full-size pattern and its freezer paper copy:

Then started selecting the fabrics for each piece. This is what it's looking like now with pieced just pinned to the design wall:

The most interesting (and difficult) part of this quilt is going to be the horses' manes which are going to be felted. I hope they will stress the dynamism of the image. Today I started felting the manes, trying to make them soft to keep the natural wool look.

Still a lot to go, but now I've shared it with you, there's no going back, so let's charge forward!

Linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss at Inquiring Quilter

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Lily the Dragon

No sun to be expected in the next couple of days, but I couldn't wait for a chance to take nice pics. I just had to hare this with you as soon as the sleeve was on it.

ticker tape quilt

She's going to my daughter's room and was already named Lily. Nice to meet you too.

I've shown the beginnings of her when I wrote about the fun workshop Ruth of Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner taught at our branch of the Irish Patchwork Society. I made a point of finishing this quilt asap, but it did take me longer than I hoped.

The wallhanging measures 30 by 51 in. This is the so-called ticker tape technique, of which you can find numerous beautiful examples on Pinterest. By using the black background I wanted to give some of the stained glass feel. The wings, which a rainbow of almost-solids look more like stained glass:

Whereas the body, made of prints, does not really look that:

As in this technique the scraps are attached to an assembled quilt sandwich, the quilting of the image part is done while stitching, which is handy. So the decision was to be made only about quilting the background. I rejected the most obvious idea of doing it in black on black and instead decided to add more colour with my beloved YLI variegated thread which I have already used for several quilts.

variegated thread quilting

Of course it means you can see all the mistakes and awkward turns, but I feel the bright curves give the quilt more of a fairy-tale look (or psychedelic look, if you like ;)))

To add even more colour (and psychedelia) I used the brightest piece of fabric I possess for the binding. Funny how one corner turned out to be all blue.

All in all it was a fun project, and it turned out more impressive than I could ever expect, thank you Ruth!

Linking up to Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She
Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts
Main Crush Monday (Tuesday) at Cooking Up Quilts

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Curve Pieced Hydrangea Flower Tutorial

patchwork tutorial

To mark the arrival of spring I'd like to share with you a nice little flower pattern that would be nice to try for somebody who is learning curve piecing or just wants to add some curvy zest to their piecing. It can look as modern or as traditional as you want it to depending on your fabric choices.

patchwork tutorial

I designed it to go together with my butterfly pattern, it is compatible in size and style and together they can form lots of different layouts. I played with a couple of options for a bed quilt here:

The flower is made up of four identical petals, so the pattern is just one 4 in squared, the resulting flower is thus 8 in squared (of course you can scale it up if you want to, but I wouldn't recommend scaling it down as some parts are quite small already).

Click here to view and download the pdf pattern for the hydrangea flower

You'll need:
  • about A4 size piece of the background fabric (or scraps)
  • about A4 size piece of the flower fabric (or scraps)
  • freezer paper
  • pencil or fabric marker
  • pins, scissors for paper and fabric and piecing thread
The process:

Print out the pattern and trace it on freezer paper. Tracing on the dull side mirrors the image, tracing on the shiny side leaves the image looking as is, which is not a lot of difference in this case, but if you carefully compare the pink and the purple flowers in my photos, you'll notice they "rotate" in opposite ways. Make sure you trace the marks across the lines as they will be necessary to correctly align the pieces.

Cut out the pattern pieces and iron them to the wrong side of your fabric. Trace around the paper, don't forget the marks! I traced all four sets of pieces at once, to be able to chain piece the block.

Cut out the pieces, eyeballing the quarter inch seam allowance on all sides. Cut notches about 1/2 in to 3/4 in apart the concave (valley) curves - the curved sides of the background pieces.

Place background pieces marked 1 and 3 in the pattern on top of the petal, right sides together. Match the marks on both pieces and gently stretch the background piece so its edge follows the petal edge, pin them together. Repeat on all the four pieces so you can chain piece them all.

Always keep the concave (valley) curve on top of your convex (mountain) curve, because the convex part stays flat, as you can see in the photo, whereas the concave piece ripples - in this way you can see what it's up to.

Stitch the pieces together and press the seams closed. Generally, I would press the seams under the petal piece, but in this case that would leave a gap in the edge, which is risky for further assembly, so I pressed the seams towards the background.

Pin background piece number two in place.

Stitch down and press the seam.

Now put the four petals together like you would any four patch. It's up to you to press the seams closed or open.

I turned my two blocks into mug rugs, but I'm going to make more to put together in a quilt.

Please enjoy and do share in the comments if you make yourself some flowers!

Linking up to Tips and Tutorials Tuesday at Quilting Jetgirl

Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River

Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Great Saturday

I spent a very exciting Saturday at the meeting of Eastern Branch of the Irish Patchwork Society. Bought some bits and pieces form the visiting shop, Fabric Matters, including my beloved YLI variegated threads.

I also couldn't resist a layer cake of beautiful "Shibori" collection by Moda. Wendy had a sample quilt on display made of this collection's charm pack.

I'm planning a quilt for my brother, so this collection of imitation shibori prints in shades of indigo seemed a great choice.

There was a great talk by Ruth Bourke of Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner about modern quilting.

And then, in the afternoon, Ruth held a workshop for us on the Ticker Tape technique, which was very interesting and inspiring. You can see Ruth's quilt of her dog Wilbur made in this technique in her blog here.

As it was just a half-day workshop, we could only start the process, but everybody enjoyed playing with scraps and I'm looking forward to seeing (at least some) finished quilts at the next month's meeting. I made my own pattern of a dragon and had a good start on it. After some more work at home, this is where I am now:

Admittedly she looks more like a dinosaur at the moment, but there are still wings and spines to come. Anyway, you can see she's a girl and I hope she's going to be a good girl. The process is fast and fun and hope to have her finished before I get overwhelmed with my college tasks again.

Linking up to Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
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