Category Archives: quilting

BFG inspired Sophie’s Quilt II

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This is my WIP: To make it 99″x 99″ each block is 9″ and the quilt is made up of 10 different blocks


The outside red edge is actually binding, so the outside blocks don’t need that 2nd stripe of red. 

The fabric requirements:

The quilt from the film is scrappier than this I think (although difficult to tell without a photo!). I also think that the outside fabric is much wider. But I’m happy to go with this one as I want one inspired by the movies’ version not a total copy.
Still a work in progress though. Arguably this is far too big, at 99″x 99″. I could shrink all the blocks down to 6″ maybe. (Making it 66″x66″)
Have you seen the film? Did you notice the quilt? Any thoughts / comment welcome!

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BFG Sophie’s quilt

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BFG Sophie’s quilt

The Steven Spielberg BFG film is a wonderful feast for the eyes, all the family enjoiyed it when we saw it yesterday. Throughout the film Sophie’s quilt features heavily and it’s beautiful! I just couldn’t help admire and wonder if I could emulate it. 

A bit of googling found that the credits note the quilter was a Susan MacKenzie. She seems to be a film costume maker as far as I can gather… But I can’t find out any more!

Unfortunately I can’t find any photographs of the full quilt… And I’m not the only one, but I have been trying to work out this beauty from the very snatched partial snapshots!
This is what I think it may look like… 

It’s a very rough estimation and is inspired by the film’s quilt rather than a copy!
More workings out to come in Part 2!

Antique Welsh Quilts

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Antique Welsh Quilts

A few days ago I took a trip to see some old Welsh quilts. They are part of Jen Jones’ vast and amazing collection of antique quilts and were on show in the Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter, Wales. 

The ones that took my breath away were the wholecloth quilts. 

   
   
Handstitched and beautiful, the one above is from about the 1890s – very similar motifs and designs to a quilt made by Fanny Lewis which is in the Sain Ffagan National History Museum near Cardiff. 

   
 
This one above was one of my favourites. You can clearly see how borders were very important in these Welsh quilts, and most traditional designs had some form of medallion in the middle. I love the geometric heart – it looks very modern. It’s possibly 1930s but we don’t know who made it.  

    

   
This red wholecloth has the geometric heart in the centre. The circular shapes may well have been done using plates etc. The use of the hearts suggests that it may have been a wedding quilt. 

The names of the women who made these may be lost to history but they continue to inspire. Diolch ferched!

   
    
 
And if you find yourself in that part of the world, make sure you stop at Jen Jones’ cottage. 

   
    

It’s full to the brim of vintage and antique quilts and Welsh woolen blankets, four rooms of them for sale. 

    
 

It’s an absolute joy to see, thank you for letting me take these photos. Her website is Jen Jones and you’ll find the Welsh Quilt Centre here. 

Quilt as You Go

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Quilt as You Go

For the Riley Blake Challenge run by the Modern Quilt Guild I decided to try QAYG for the first time. 

 I really loved how relaxing it was as a technique. I’ll definitely give this a go again. Pehaps starting with a smaller center piece. 

After finishing a square panel I turned it into a simple cushion. 

  

It’s not a combination of colours I’d chose usually – much more muted than my usual choice but I think it’s really calming and attractive. 

Now where to put it?!

 

“Step by step” my first mini quilt

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“Step by step” my first mini quilt

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This colourful mini quilt top was on my pile of UFOs (unfinished objects) for a very long time.
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And now it’s done! I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Add a border? Just square it up and make it into a mini? Use it in a bit of improv slashing? I turned to instagram for help and inspiration, and was encouraged to make it into a mini quilt that will hang above my machine in my sewing corner.

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I decided to FMQ swirls, pebbles and a burst of straight lines, and I really like it.

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I did a bit of binding whilst the kids had their swimming lesson and also added a hanging sleeve on the back. I used a vintage star fabric from Tula Pink as backing. I love this fabric and saw it first on the back of a display quilt in Libertys of London. The assistant there couldn’t tell me what it was so I made it my mission to find out! Instagram helped, I ordered some online… and when I found that John Lewis were selling this half price I then got some MORE! That’s how much I love it! You can see it in the first montage photo where it shows the sleeve.

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These self threading needle are a huge help when you need to bury lots of threads.

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It’s now in the wash for some extra crinkle!

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And here it is, out of the wash!

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Initial cushions

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Initial cushions

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I recently offered to make personalised cushions in a fundraising promise auction. The winning bidder wanted one with S&D on it for her sons, and I said how about two? One each. She agreed.

When I’ve made name cushions in the past I’ve appliqued the letters on the cushion tops. But with one large letter, especially for young boys, I thought I needed a more robust construction. So one night it came to me, why not use the porthole technique I learned in Lu Summers’ class at the Fat Quarterly Retreat 2 years ago?

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It worked really nicely, and I love how it’s a little window onto the seascape fabric underneath. I decided to frame the letters with 2.5″ squares.

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Onto the quilting. I worried that swirls might be a bit too girly, but actually it was perfect – a hint of sea waves! I’ve been taking some Craftsy FMQ classes (Angela Waters) and I have to say it’s given me a great deal of confidence. That, as well as a face to face lesson by Trudi Wood at last year’s Fat Quarterly Retreat, has fuelled my love of free motion quilting. This is done in Aurifil 50, which is thinner than my usual 40wt, one of Angela Waters’ tips is thinner thread, and thread that blends (hides a multitude of slips!) and I’m a convert!

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I love the quilting inside the letter D!

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Best of all the boys and their mum love them. One of the boys took his straight to bed with him, and was still cuddling it in the morning!

Wavy quilted cushion

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I’ve had Jenny Pedigo’s Quick Curve Ruler for absolutely ages, but didn’t even take off the plastic backing paper until the weekend. I love her blog, and admire the quilts she makes with this ruler, so it was about time that this baby got an outing.

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I kept it simple and decided to make cushion covers (for a creative quilter I had NO home made items in the lounge). I have sewed curves before and I did find it very quick and easy to do these blocks. My mind is racing now with ideas how to make more cushions with this ruler. I am oficially a fan.

Then I decided on straight line quilting because I love the texture it creates.

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Then I tried binding by machine to save time…

20140428-125018.jpg mmmm… made a complete mess of it… and decided to unpick and bind by hand instead…

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Apparently Lily’s Quilts will be posting a tutorial on machine binding on Thursday. I’m hoping it will help with my clearly rubbish technique!

Can’t stop stroking my new cushion now!

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Baby quilt

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Baby quilt

Remember my son complaining about the quilt I was making for my niece? Well here it is:

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It’s finished, washed and has crinkled up just as I like it.

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Made with charm squares, quilted in straight lines and FMQ with star, heart, swirls and swirly designs. And here’s her name emboidered on the front:

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Quilting and piecing with Aurifil thread, embroidered with Perle cotton. Hope she likes it!

“Girl fabrics are prettier!”

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“Girl fabrics are prettier!”

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My 6yo son has a quilt, but has demanded another one. He was in tears the other night (exhaustion playing a major part) saying that his quilt isn’t as pretty as the one I’m finishing for his cousin Nel.
TEARS! “Girl materials are much prettier Mami” he wailed!

A few days later after sewing some dolls house quilts with my daughter I told him to choose some fabrics he liked from my big box.
This is the result. He picked lots of greens and red in charm squares. And he was VERY specific that he wanted a big square of bug fabric right in the middle.

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It’s very different to what I would have chosen for him, but he loves it. He also helped me piece the majority of the quilt top. (So there are a few wobbly seams and squares which wont match up, but I love it! )

We also put a panel on the back to make it a quillow (but I haven’t yet put any applique on the pillow bit, so it’s just plain beige fleece at the moment.
It’s backed with the fleece just as he wanted.

His quilt, his choices, his hard work and I’ve got the happiest 6year old in the world!

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Now my daughter wants another quilt!

Surprise Porthole Baby Quilt

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I needed to make a baby quilt for a good friend of mine. I had blocks left over from a previous jelly roll project, I played around with them and made this.

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I wanted her son’s name on the quilt, but felt the front was busy enough as it was, and adding it to the back was probably a better idea. I also had lovely bug fabric that I bought to make something for a boy. This coupled with seeing all the lovely portholes made at this year’s Fat Quarterly Retreat got me thinking. Why not have a surprise porthole on the back, and sew his name around it? The bug jar could be fussy cut to show through. (I took Lu Summers‘ porthole class in last year’s Fat Quarterly Retreat)

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I’m really happy with how it turned out. I quilted most of the quilt in straight lines, but added FMQ to the center panels, and echoed the porthole too.

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Celebrating a long awaited finish!

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My big pink quilt is finished and I just love it!

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I had it basted for over a year (not kidding) and the backing was really bugging me, it was too much for the quilt. So I took off the flowery backing that you can see in this post, instead I made my first pieced backing in greys and a row of the same prints as the quilt top.

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After this year’s Fat Quarterly Retreat i felt brave enough to tackle FMQ on this huge beauty too. Thanks Trudi for the instruction in that class – it made a huge difference to me. Of course, I used Aurifil 50wt thread too after seeing how it behaved in that class. I didn’t have one thread breakage!

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Now i’m new at this FMQ, so this quilt is full of rookie mistakes and flaws. I probably shouldn’t have used red on the back. It would have been much better to have have a dark grey matching thread – my flaws wouldn’t have been so visible! But I was a bit nervous of using different threads in the top and bottom. I shouldn’t have been. Next time I will take more care whilst considering the colour of the bobbin thread.

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There’s build up of thread, overshooting my line etc etc…. but do you know what… I STILL love this, and it has pride of place on our bed.

Is it weird to have a “favourite bit” of the quilt – do others have this too? Well mine is the very small pebble bit at the corners of the light blue sashing. Did I say I’m new at FMQ… I kept my dodgy pebbling to a minimum!!

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So there she is – she’s big, she’s bold, she’s not perfect but she’s flippin’ marvellous! I’m so proud of her.

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Pattern and most of the fabrics are Kaffe Fassett.

Maybe I SHOULD be a thread snob

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Maybe I SHOULD be a thread snob

During the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London I took some classes with the amazing Trudi Wood. I love her work and her class was a bit like opening a door on the mysteries of free motion quilting. I have dabbled with FMQ in the past, experimented and stumbled in the dark… but after her classes (in FMQ and FMQ design) I am completely confident in going for it! My FMQ is full of mistakes / flaws or “design features” as she might put it, but I feel that it gets easier everytime I sit down and try.

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The photo above was done with my proper machine, but during the class I was using (well…wrestling) with my 25 year Jones machine. She wasn’t happy, she was presenting me with huge eyelashes all over my practice sandwich.

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I changed needle.
I changed tension.
I adjusted the bobbin tension with a screwdriver.
I rethreaded.
I swore.
I gave up and took a coffee break!
During coffee I was moaning about my frustrations to Cara who suggested that maybe I should change thread completely.
So I went back and rethreaded with Aurifil 50. Now I originally didn’t want to
use my precious Aurifil for these practice sandwiches but look at the difference it made!

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It was as if a little fairy had come down to make it all better! Who knew that a change of thread could make that much of a difference?

This is what progress looks like!

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I’ve made a few more luggage tags. If there’s interest at the Fat Quarterly Retreat I might sell them. If not, they will be gifts.

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I have to say I’m not sure I’d make these again. They’re very time consuming and fiddly, but they’re really pretty.

I have also made progress in my Finish A Long list.

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I pieced my multi colour baby blanket.

I also quilted my daughter’s quilt and started binding.

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I’ve started hand basting the binding to the back now too. And with the left over binding, I’m keeping it safe on a toilet roll!

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UFOs I’m coming to get you

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Time to join my first finish-a-long I think. I have far too many UnFinished Objects around here:

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1. my potpourri quilt:
This beauty needs a new plainer backing, needs quilting, and binding. Poor thing has been waiting for a LONG time.

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2. Hello Daughter quilt.
Needs quilting, and binding

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3. My son’s play quilt which needs quilting and binding.
Jelly Roll Challenge FQR 2012

4. A pillow of appliqued flowers, needs quilting and finishing into a pillow.

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5. Solid baby quilt, at the moment it’s in strips, not even a quilt top. This WILL be finished (even though the baby it was intended for has outgrown it!)

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So there’s my wishlist, or as Canadian Abroad coined it, my wishful thinking list, because despite all good intentions, I always get sidetracked with other projects!

I’m linking up with Leanne from She Can Quilt‘s Finish-A-Long 2013 Q3. Have a look who else will be facing their UFOs!

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Rip off the backing! Go on do it!

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This quilt has been languishing in full “baste” for AGES.

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I know why, the backing I chose is just not right. After months and months of feeling unhappy about this I have decided to follow my instinct and act on it.

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This floral backing is far too loud and too busy for a quilt that is sleeady a riot of colour. In the back of my mind I can see a lovely minimal grey backing with a pieced strip of left over fabrics.

So I’ll soon be taking the plunge and “unbasting” (is there such a word?) the monster quilt and starting again with a new calm backing. I love the front, so I need a back that I will also love.