I've now been quilting for three and a half years. This blog is my personal quilting diary, that charts my progress (and occasional regression) from the start. I use it so I can look back at my past projects...and hopefully see my skills improve!

Thursday, 15 February 2018


Sometimes 'stuff' happens by accident.  I bought a Jacquard Dye-na-flow exciter pack at the Festival of Quilts last year.  It had sat on my shelf since then and I thought I'd see what the paints were like.  I cut  a 16 inch square of white cotton and squeezed the paint straight from the bottle diagonally in both directions.  Where the paint was still wet, it bled into paint on the crossover locations and gave an interesting effect.  It had been my intention to throw the test piece away, but I wondered if I could actually use it.  When the paint was dry, I heat set it with the iron and then appliqued on some circles.  I used ombre fabrics from my stash.  I free motion quilted in dark thread around the coloured areas but didn't worry about staying on the lines.  Lastly, I free motioned a stipple stitch using white thread on the white areas.  I cut my binding and splattered some paint onto it - again direct from the bottle.  The entire process probably took half a day.

I have several long term projects on the go that require precision and concentration.  This little project was pure joy - no quarter inches or straight lines to worry about.  It was completely free and easy.  It is so far removed from my usual 'plan every last detail' approach.

I hope I will make more abstract pieces in my future. Happy quilting!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

First Finish of 2018

I have done very little free motion quilting over the last year.  Most of my quilts have been too 'busy' to merit anything other than basic quilting.  I know I was very rusty and needed a project that would get me using my fmq brain.

Last summer I made a feathered star mini quilt for a swap.  I was given a list of the recipient's likes and dislikes.  She liked quilts with lots of white space and modern quilting.  I kept the quilting very simple and used straight lines.  I enjoyed the process, but wondered what a large version with more traditional quilting would look like.

In the end, I chickened out somewhat on the design and went for a simple orange peel design for all the outside white space.  However, just the physical process of fmq was very beneficial and therapeutic.  Maybe next time I'll be more ambitious.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Time to Reflect on 2017 and Look Ahead to 2018

I wrote a list in February of UFOs, WIPs and new projects.  What progress did I make?

My list at the start of 2017
Works in Progress
Carol’s friendship quilt
Hearts and Flowers 2
TQS 2017 BOM
Daisy’s quilt
Passacaglia quilt
2015 Quiltmania Mystery Quilt
Hexi wallhanging
Gem quilt
Phoebe quilt
Rambling Ways
International Miniature Quilt Exchange
...and a list of projects to start
Waiting to start
Etoile Rouge 2017 BOM
Quiltmania 2016 Mystery quilt
Amish II Nancy Rink Quilt
Diamond Hill by Esther Aliu

So...what progress did I make IN 2017?

Works in Progress
Carol’s friendship quilt -FINISHED
Hearts and Flowers 2 - FINISHED
Daisy’s quilt - FINISHED
Passacaglia quilt - NO PROGRESS
2015 Quiltmania Mystery Quilt - NO PROGRESS
Hexi wallhanging - NO PROGRESS
Gem quilt - FINISHED
Phoebe quilt - NO PROGRESS
Rambling Ways - TWO BLOCKS DONE

...and my list of projects to start

Waiting to start
Quiltmania 2016 Mystery quilt - NOT  STARTED
Amish II Nancy Rink Quilt - NOT STARTED
Diamond Hill by Esther Aliu - ONE BLOCK ONLY DONE
What else did I make IN 2017?

Sampler quilt - half finished
Prim Log Cabin and wool scrap wall hanging - FINISHED
Roman mosaic test piece - FINISHED
Two Inktense bird table mats - FINISHED
Feathered star swap mini quilt- FINISHED
Two inktense postcards for swap - FINISHED
Prim crow quilt - FINISHED
Project Linus Gem Batik quilt - FINISHED
Large feathered star pieced and waiting to be sandwiched and quilted.

CONCLUSION - This was a worthwhile exercise as I didn't think I had done much at all this year.  I will try to review my 2018 plans each three months to see if this helps.

2018 Plans

WIPs and UFOs carried forward
TQS 2017 BOM - HALF COMPLETED - sewing machine
Passacaglia quilt - NO PROGRESS - hand work
2015 Quiltmania Mystery Quilt - NO PROGRESS - hand work
Hexi wallhanging - NO PROGRESS - hand work
Phoebe quilt - NO PROGRESS - mix
Rambling Ways - TWO BLOCKS DONE - hand work
Etoile rouge - 3 MONTHS DONE - sewing machine
Quiltmania 2016 Mystery quilt - NOT  STARTED - mix
Amish II Nancy Rink Quilt - NOT STARTED - sewing machine
Diamond Hill by Esther Aliu - ONE BLOCK ONLY DONE - hand work
Should I start anything new when so many projects are partly done? 

Priorities for 2018 - first 3 months

Sewing machine
Finish large feathered star quilt
International Miniature Quilt Exchange
Etoile rouge - 3 MONTHS DONE
Hand work
Hexi wallhanging - NO PROGRESS
Rambling Ways - TWO BLOCKS DONE

Review progress at end of March 2018

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Fun with Inktense Pencils

I signed up for a Christmas postcard swap with the FB group UKQU Postcard Swaps and made two.

I used my usual method of ironing the cotton to freezer paper before starting to colour.  This stops the fabric from moving while you colour or paint.  It also protects your table surface once you apply fabric medium and start to blend colours.  I trimmed and backed the pieces with Timtex and them free motioned  - I hesitate to say thread painted as I used the thread sparsely, using black thread.  Lastly I fused some white cotton to the back of the card and used a zig zag \ satin stitich around the edge.  I hope the recipients will like them.

I so enjoyed making the Christmas robin postcard, I thought I'd have a go at a wren and a kingfisher.  Once they were painted, I didn't really know what to do with them.  I decided to make table mats from them.  It is such a bonus when you can find coordinating fabrics in your stash!  These were a lot of fun to make and didn't take much time.  I completed the wren first and then decided I wanted to make a bit more effort with the kingfisher, so got my ruler foot out.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

What to do on a Dreary Day

I have been having fun painting on some pfd white cotton.  The designs are by Jacquelynne Steves, from her Art of Home Club.  I used Jacquard Textile Color paint in a palette limited to 5 colours.  I have always admired the traditional folk art on canal barges in the UK and chose my colours as a nod to those cheerful, happy barges.

I'm thinking of adding sashing around each block and then, maybe adding an outer border painted with some of the garlands on the blocks... maybe slightly enlarged.  I'm not sure yet.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Busy, but not much to show

It was all hands on deck to finish the Billings quilt before the Hawkinge Patchwork Show.  I am so happy with it after more than two years in progress!  I also managed to finish my Roman mosaic test piece.

 I learned a lot from the process of making this small piece.  I have always wanted to make a Roman mosaic quilt and when I saw a youtube video showing Cheryl Lynch's method, I just had to try it. 

I printed out my source pattern fish on paper in colour - A4 size. I taped it to my light box, and then removed the backing from a piece of Steam a Seam Lite and carefully taped it on top of the source photo, tacky side up.  I found it easiest to use scissors to cut up small pieces of fabric in my chosen colours.  I then uded pointed tweezers to position the mosaic pieces onto the fusible.  I love the Steam a seam as it is so easy to reposition the fabric pieces due to the tacky surface.  When all the mosaic pieces were in position, I removed the fusible from the light box and fused the piece with a hot dry iron, covering the piece with a teflon sheet.  Very important:  I waited until the fused fabric had cooled before trying to separate it from the backing paper.  If the piece didn't come off the backing paper as a single sheet, I reapplied heat and then waited again until cool.  I then placed the piece on my backing fabric and fused again. I love the fact that the backing fabric can be seen between the mosaic pieces.  The background fabric becomes the 'grout' between the mosaic pieces.

For the mosaic braid border, I used standard Seam a Seam and I think it worked better, as the fabric sheet was somewhat sturdier and easier to handle.

I placed a sheet of tulle over the top of the mosaic fabric, and used a layer of wool wadding and backing.  I only quilted the piece very lightly.  I'm not certain that the tulle is needed, as the fused fabric is pretty sturdy, but - better safe than sorry!

I hope I get the opportunity to tackle a larger project.  I took lots of photos of Roman mosaics in Italy a couple of months ago, so have plenty of source material.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

After Two and a Half Years...

I have finally finished my 'Daisy' quilt - otherwise known as the Hertfordshire Quilt, pattern by Carolyn Konig.  The pattern is inspired by the Billings Coverlet in the UK Quilter's Guild collection.

About three quarters of the quilt was hand pieced.  Parts of it are well-travelled, as little baggies of cut shapes, needle, thread and scissors travelled with me on every holiday.

I made some changes to the outer border.  The original had 2200 small honeycombs to be English paper pieced.  I used my Sizzix to cut the honeycombs.  They are larger than the original pattern.  I English paper pieced each motif and then appliqued it to the border background.  This reduced the number of honeycombs to about 600.

I machine quilted in the ditch over nearly every seam in the quilt.  None of those hand stitched seams are going to fall apart.  I did some stipple in the outer and one other border.  With a quilt this busy, fancy FMQ is a waste of time, as it wouldn't be seen.

I had an awful time trying to photograph the quilt.  It is 101 inches square.  In the end I moved the dog's bed out of the kitchen (much to her concern), stood on some steps and managed to get most of the quilt into the photo.

I also pieced the back.  I had a palampore in my stash that I used in the centre.  I didn't want to cut it up, so was happy to use it on the back of this one.

I have always loved Roman mosaics and am working on a small piece using tiny pieces of Northcott Stonehenge fabrics.  This involves fusing the pieces onto a fabric backing, then covering with tulle and securing it all with free motion.  I am presently working on a braid mosaic border.  This is a test piece and I hope to make some larger pieces using photos I took on a recent trip to Italy...if all goes well.

Happy quilting! x