I am best known as a maker of teddybears, but I have another new passion - patchwork and quilting. This blog is my online diary to myself. It will chart my learning journey and I hope, will document my mistakes and successes in this expedition to 'teach an old dog new tricks'. I have been learning to quilt for about 9 months, so the first few posts will be a summary of the journey so far.
While going through my loft last year, I came across a brown manilla envelope containing a bear paw patchwork block that I hand-sewed over thirty years ago. Somehow, life got in the way and my patchwork never progressed any further.
Summer 2012 - First quilt
Ignorance is bliss. Last summer I decided to make a patchwork quilt for my bed...this time using a sewing machine. In my ignorance, I decided to make a large quilt using half square triangles. How hard could it be? I would be cutting up material and sewing it back together again. One thing for sure, I made every mistake in the book. I wasn't aware of the problems that bias in fabric can cause.
I used a bought pattern, but it contained mistakes and I found it difficult initially to work out how to fix the problems that arose.
I have always loved colour. I wanted to use the autumnal colours that I could remember when I was a little girl living in Canada. I think of this finished first quilt as my 'Monet' quilt. It looks good from a distance, but is a mess up close!
September - December 2012 Block of the Week Beginner Course
After completing my Monet quilt, I had caught the quilt making bug and I realised I needed professional help to improve! I started a Block of the Week course at Kathy's Patch in Folkestone. The course covered all the basics and twelve different blocks.
My sampler quilt was created from the blocks I made while taking the course. At the time, I had a 'thing' for purple and lime green, and I fell in love with Fabric Freedom's Pure Velvet range of cottons. The lime green sashing was a Fossil Fern fabric. I needed more than twelve blocks as the quilt needed to cover a king size bed, so I made extra blocks in different colourways. I also included a few plain blocks - some of which I hand quilted - my first ever attempt.
Paper Piecing - so much fun
At the same time as completing my Block of the Week course, I completed a Craftsy course on paper piecing by Peggy Martin. It was a total revelation. It was so liberating after all the very careful measuring and cutting of fabric required by conventional patchwork. The patterns - New York Beauty, Mariner's Compass etc. were within my grasp. I never thought I would be able to create them, as they looked so complex...but looks can be deceptive!
I had bought a few batik fabrics at a quilt show in Maidstone in October, without any idea of what I might use them for. I just picked out colours I liked. These fabrics became my New York Beauty wallhanging. I had intended to make a couple of cushion covers with the blocks, but was having so much fun, I just kept making more blocks. The pattern is a Peggy Martin design.
I then decided to make a couple of cushion covers - again paper pieced.
I also started a Be Colorful Quilt. This is still a work in progress as a bear show in February and another in March have taken priority. This is by far my greatest challenge.