Sunday, 31 October 2010

By hook or by crook

I'll get in my 31st post for October...

I'd always planned to end the month with a photo of the month's arrivals. I do have another rather large pile on the way, but it hasn't arrived in time. The taller of these piles is about 16in. There's a large stack of wintry scenes and prints, a few snowflakes, a selection of reef, water, beach and skies for my beach scene quilts, a fe flannels, some black-and-whites, a random stack of tone-on tones and ombres, a selection of Paula Nadelstern's new range and some Vick Welsh gradients. Mmmm...

Birthday Party

Today we had a birthday party at a park for James and Eleanor (who missed out in July). We started with a children's party for James' friends. I made 3 dozen chocolate cupcakes and iced thm in pink. Eleanor appears to be enjoying hers, but in fact she ate only the icing!

Some family members with children joined us for this, and after it finished, we had a family gathering. I worked out that there were 10 children at the family gathering (James and Eleanor, all four of their cousins, and four second cousins). Four years ago at James' first birthday party, he was the only child there!

Their cake requests were a rainbow butterfly (James) and a rainbow (Eleanor) but I ran out of time and we bought a cake and stuck these butterflies into it. James and Eleanor actually chose these (they're Christmas decorations!) a few weeks ago.

I had difficulty photographing James because he was so busy, but towards the end all of the children (well, those over 12 months old) were on a big climbing frame, and James got right to the top:

Eleanor got cold (it was a cool day, despite the sun) and we had to change her into something warmer. She protested until her cheeks went purple and her teeth started chattering, then she finally gave in!


Here's the front of the wholecloth quilt. Not surprisingly, it's practically the same as the back; just with more colour!

I love the texture created in this quilt with all the different quilting patterns, and by leaving just a few acrs deliberately unquilted.

Some of the patterns are definite fillers, while others were specifically designed for their space.

I tried to use as many patterns as possible, and I remember there are over fifty.

I did end up repeating some designs, and others I modified ever-so-slightly, such as changing the direction of the lines.

A few of the designs didn't quite go as planned, as almost designed themselves as I quilted.

A few of the blocks have segments separated by narrow (about 1/4in) strips (as in the block above) and I enjoyed coming up with different fillers for these, too.

This quilt was an amazing was to practice filler patterns! A lot of them I came up with myself, but I also used some from Leah Day's project, and others I adapted from existing designs. Oddly enough, in my doodlings earlier in the year, I'd come up with some designs almost identical to some Leah later showed, such as the coffee beans!

It was also a good test (mostly successful) of shrinking designs I'd only before stitched on a larger scale.

I'm really pleased with how the feathered corners tie the whole thing together. They were all stitched completely freehand, without any marking.

Each 'block' finished at about 7.5in square - not surprisingly, the quilting resulted in a lot of shrinkage in this small quilt!

It was challenging to photograph this quilt and get the zing of colour to really show.

So on a whim, I took a few photos using the Pop-Art setting on my camera.

While it made the orange, in particular, rather flourescent, these photos are in many ways a better representation of what the quilt actually looks like!

Just indulge me through the last few photos, trying to show as many designs as possible in a small space...

I had been concerned when I started planning this quilt that the colour wouldn't be enough, but I'm very pleased with how it come out.

I quilted "EBDQS4" into one section of the border; unless you know it's there, it blends into the rest of the quilting pattern:

I'm already planning more wholecloth quilts like this.

I do take commissions, so please contact me if you are interested.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

The back of May

This is the first of a couple of self-indulgent, photo-heavy posts about the wholecloth quilt I made for the EBDQS4. It is currently on its way to its new owner.

These photos are from the back, showing the quilting texture, and I managed to get a few backlit by the sun, with the colours coming through.

I really struggled over the name; the 'block' designs come from a Karen Stone quilt called Cinco de Mayo, which seemed very appropriate, since the 5th of May happens to be my birthday! Someone else's birthday is also in May...

Click on any of the photos to see them in greater detail.

Most quilts I finish I am really proud of at the time, because they represent something new I've tried, or an improvement in my skill. You can guess that is is one of these!

Despite all the quilting, one thing I really love about this quilt is the few sections quilt I deliberately left unquilted; they pop beautifully.

The photo above was taken with the sun behind, and with the co,our coming through, could almost eb the front.

More different textures,

and patterns.

Next up I'll show the front properly...

Friday, 29 October 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Morning Swim

I decided to share another of my beach scene quilts, since I've just finished this one, and they're becoming a bit of a trademark for me.

I designed this quilt at the same time as 'Through the Arched Window', when I was playing with variations on my beach scene designs, looking for a suitable one to turn into the pattern.

I have now made five of these (click on the links to see them: Seaside, Breakfast on the Beach, Footsteps, Through the Arched Window and this one) since my first Beach quilt which was made using 2in squares and some small foundation-pieced sections. I find good sand fabrics hardest to come by, and deliberately designed this quilt without a beach section.

I off-set the rising sun, and marked portions of the water foundations where I wanted lighter fabrics, to represent the sun reflecting on the water.

In hindsight, I didn't pull this off too well (I needed more fabrics, narrower and more horizontal strips, and more contrast to achieve the look I wanted) but managed to give some of the effect with the quilting - this area of the water was quilted with yellow thread, in wavy lines ending on points while the rest of the water was quilted with blue and aqua threads, in curvy lines and swirls.

I think I've said it before, but these quilts get easier and easier as my collection of fabrics grows! And because I only use small pieces from each fabric, I know there are plenty more in my future; it's just a case of coming up with new designs.

I had some difficulty with thread breakages while quilting this quilt, and I think it was due to the fairly tough backing fabric - another lesson learned! Eventually I solved it by going up a needle size, from an 80/12 topstitch, to a 90/14, even though my thread choices wouldn't normally warrant this. Everything worked fine on my scrap sandwich with the other needle, and the only difference was the backing fabric on that - a piece of regular white cotton. The backing for this quilt is proper quiltbacking, and is the perfect colour/design for my beach scene quilts, but isn't quite as fine as it should be, and is quite stiff.

I quilted the sky in a cloud pattern using some super-fine (100wt) Wonderfil thread I bought at AMQF. It's a little darker than I had really wanted, but is beautifully fine. I did have breakage issues with it, too, but I will blame the backing rather than the thread for now. I really didn't want to go with an even bigger needle for that; on most things I would have used a 60 or 70 needle with such fine thread, and the 80 was leaving big enough holes already!

My new challenge is a variation on the theme. I have always loved snow and snowflakes (funnily enough, I don't actually like the beach!), and have a substantial collection of snowflake prints. Now I have started collecting snowy scenes etc, with the plan of making some snow-scene quilts.

Thank you for visiting! I will try to respond to all the comments I receive, and to visit all of your blogs in return.

For those of you who are new to my blog, I also do traditional piecing - but usually with a bit of a twist, applique, and am exploring wholecloth quilts. I hope you'll come back and have a look around - when you've got some time! The lists of my recent quilts by year on the right are actually links; just click on any to go directly to the main post about that quilt.

Now go and check out the rest of the fesitval entries:

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival


James turned 5 this week!

Eleanor was a very enthusiastic unwrapping assistant...

James' main present was an interactive globe, which he loves - and which we've all had a play with!

Eleanor preferred the packaging...

But James is really interested and had already learned where about half a dozen countries are, including Australia, Russia, the Philippines and Madagascar!

Not spoilt at all...

And then we had some visitors in the evening who brought cake...

Happy 5th Birthday to the most caring, curious, lovable and talkative little boy!