Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Scrappy Butterfly Quilt

This quilt is the embodiment of the mad urge that all quilters and makers will recognise - when you get the scrap of an idea and you CANNOT rest until you have realised it! I started this quilt at Christmas. Not the relaxed lazy chilled out post chrissy bit, no it was the hectic, frantic, tearing your hair out pre christmas bit of the holiday. I have 3 young children, a new puppy and I was hosting 16 between Christmas eve and Boxing day, I obviously needed the relaxing properties of a complicated quilt project! I was browsing one of my quilt history books when i saw the most amazing version of this pattern. Now mine is nothing but a poor homage to the original which is ginormous and probably took years to make. Its a great windmill pattern ,made up entirely of half square triangles but arranged in alternate rows to make them flutter in both directions. This means in practical terms that the basic building blocks of the quilt are simple to make, but the layout and sewing together is a logistical nightmare ( ref 3 kids and the puppy!!). You need to make a big area to lay it all out and sew uninterrupted right alongside it. Now I do not have a large quiet unused room at home so I ended up sewing in the lounge with the sewing machine resting on a tray on my lap! Don't try this at home folks!

Its made entirely from scraps. I cut no new material for this apart from the white backing ( my usual much loved vintage white Kona Snow). I really have never seen a scrap quilt I didn't like, its a strange but true fact that in quilting more is more!! If you could have seen the mess that was my scrap bucket ( its actually more of a tin bath than a bucket!) you would have had no confidence that the mess of print and colour within it could create such a delicate balance of patchy loveliness - but that's the magic of patchwork, the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.

The Peachy Wreathy Quilt

When I first decided I wanted to make a quilt I really wanted to to recreate the pretty bright 1950s designs that I had seen in old books in the library. But modern quilting supplies were hard to come by in rural England and all the shops I made my tentative expectant first pilgrimages to were wall to wall sludgy batiks and brown civil war reproductions. I will post those first quilting disappointments one day so you can see where I started out- so much hope and effort and the end results were so so underwhelming. I came to quilting on the cusp of the revolution in quilting fabric that has given us all so much bright modern choice today. This quilt is my favourite formula, traditional patterns in modern fabric.
Like so many quilts I tend to make, I didn't really plan to make this one, it kind of made itself. I was at the Festival of Quilts Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham last summer and I bought a half metre of this wonderful Liberty print with a coral coloured parrot. As I started putting together the rest of the fabrics I knew that pattern had to make it feel really lush, a real explosion of colour and texture. To balance the busy borders I chose the classic serenity of this wreath applique pattern which is a real favourite of mine since I first made it in my first sampler quilt.
The wreaths are hand appliqued, its all hand quilted in a grid pattern that took forever, but was so worth it in the end as the texture it makes is wonderful. This one was a real labour of love. I even appliqued flowers to the classic mid century red and white polka dot backing. I had planned to add a circular wreath stem to the back but my dedication faltered at that last step! I hope it doesn't suffer for it. Its one of my favourite quilts, I hope you like it too.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The HexeTele Quilt

This quilt is completely made up of the offcuts of another quilt I'm still working on. That quilt uses diamonds and offcut bits in between each diamond are triangles. If you join those triangles together it gives you these hexagon shapes. This quilt is a classic example of the quilting trueism that more is more! I would have probably never chosen these combinations of print and colour but happy coincidence has created this fantastic busy colourful design. My littlest was matching triangles into hexagons one day as I struggled with the intended quilt and this pattern is what she made.

It took less than an hour to turn my scraps into 'her' quilt (although the geometry for the inset borders took at least double that!!). I added the blue chambray border, in part for extra size (as a designated 'telequilt' it needed adequate coverage for sofa based comfort!) but also as the soft chambray makes such a nice frame for the clashy pattern.

I hand quilted each hexagon ring, on the pics the edges look a bit baggy as it was pressed into action before my planned quilting in the border was completed. There has been some urgent need for sofa based warmth this spring! My plan is to return to it and complete the hex pattern into the border when summer finally makes an appearance.
The back was specially chosen, its Aneela Hoey for Modas scooter girl, we both love it, I'm sure my little girl is not alone in thinking its definitely her!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Scandi Tray Quilt

Someone asked me recently how many quilts I have made. I had a guess, maybe thirty? Except when I started tallying them up I realised that there was a whole lot more than thirty!!! I decided I would work my way backwards in order photographing them all so I'd have a record of all of my work.

So here we have the Scandi Tray Quilt. I finished this one last week. The fabric line is by a designer called Lotta Jansdotter and as soon as I saw it I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I had this picture;

pinned on my pinboard for ages. Its a tray designed by Maria Dahlgren and I love the pattern and colours. Using the picture I worked out a pattern using 4 inch squares and half square triangles. I partnered the prints with solid colours from my stash to calm the busyness of all those angles and patterns.

I had a really strong idea of what I wanted to achieve, but I had quite a few wobbles on this as it progressed. I wasn't sure about the darker greys and browns and even considered ripping them out, but as is often the way I feel now that the contrasts are what makes the design work. You often have to work against the brains natural desire to make things 'matchy matchy'!

I quilted it in a simple grid pattern. I actually machine quilted this quilt, it's only the second I have. I am a total hand quilt devotee and I'm not delighted with the machine quilting, but the graphic straight lines lent themselves to machine accuracy, it's good to experiment at least!

I backed the quilt in this lovely wobbly pint from the same line. One width of fabric was too narrow so I added two strips with a splash of yellow. I'm loving the sunny yellow against the cloud grey - kind of like he mad weather at the moment!!