23 October 2017

The Mellerstain Firescreen

I have finally started working properly on my version of The Mellerstain Firescreen.  This is what it will look like when finished

It is a crewelwork embroidery, an original 19th Century design from Mellerstain House in Scotland, the ancestral home of the Earls of Haddington.  I bought the kit from the Crewelwork Company about   5 years ago, as I really wanted to make a firescreen for our new cottage to use in the summer.  When certain dogs are not hogging the fire!

The kit is really good, beautiful Twill with the design printed on and full skeins of Appleton's crewel wools

I made a start, but my skill level was no where near the level it needed to be for such an advanced kit

So I packed it all away for a while (about 4 years!) I now feel confident after all my embroidery classes, to really do it justice. I have picked it up again and will try to make it my focus embroidery project this winter.

There are some lovely details, like the acorns with their french knot cups

The closed fly stitch leaves

and of course my favourite silk shading

Wool is so forgiving when it comes to silk shading as it's natural fuzziness makes it want to cling and blend

12 October 2017

One Rabbit....

Two Rabbit, Three Rabbit, Four ...

The first rabbit is stitched in place (apart from his eye) I just have a couple of tulips, and another three rabbits to appliqué by the end of October, or I could just go at my own speed and fall behind again 😁

It is difficult to get a photo of the whole quilt, but here is the centre all ready for the Rabbit borders

Everything cut out and glued in place ready to appliqué

I am still really enjoying working on this quilt

If you click on any of the photos they should enlarge

30 September 2017

17 in 2017 September progress

Here is my September progress for Meridith's 17 in 2017 challenge

It's been a Sarah Fielke month this month 😃

I am still happily hand quilting the 2016 BOM 'Happy Days', I am really enjoying not so big stitch quilting and I love how this Liberty quilt is turning out!

I have also been deciding on the next border fabrics for this year's BOM 'Down the Rabbit Hole' The fabrics I have chosen for this quilt are really not in my comfort zone, so choosing them is taking a lot of time but I love working with these happy colours - I see more quilts with modern fabrics in my future!

21 September 2017

Not so Big Stitch Quilting

I am really enjoying the hand quilting of Happy Days; I am using Aurifil 12wt thread and a crewel embroidery needle, which seem to be the perfect combination for me. I have been steadily stitching an hour or so a day and find that my stitches are quite even, and although larger than fine heirloom hand quilting, are not so big that they detract from the appliqué and piecing.

I have stitched from the middle to one corner and am slowly working towards the next...

12 September 2017

Hand Quilting Happy Days

You may remember that last year I worked on Sarah Fielke's BOM 'Happy Days' I used Liberty fabrics and loved every minute of it.

The only thing that I really didn't like about this quilt, was the bottom right Black Star block.  This was my first attempt at paper piecing and it didn't go well, the block turned out the wrong size, the points were a mess and all that Black!!! what was I thinking?

I really wanted that block done and finished with, and I convinced myself that it wasn't that bad, so I had the quilt machine basted by a long arm quilter and it has been sat waiting for the cooler weather so that I could quilt it. I bought some Aurifil 12 wt thread ready for Big stitch quilting

and watched Sarah's video several times explaining the technique.

I started with my favourite block

so far so good, but every time I took the quilt out to work on it, my eye was drawn to that black star and I knew I needed to replace it or I would never be happy with the quilt.
So ... I carefully unpicked it ...

no going back now...  and made a new star, with pointy points! in soft colours!!

and pined it in place, and slip stitched it down...

I really like this new block :)

It changes the look of the whole quilt

Can I just say, that replacing a block after the quilt has been basted and you have started to quilt, is a really STUPID idea and I don't recommend it!!
I was careful and took my time, but I was worried I would ruin everything.  I will spend a lot of time hand quilting this one and I knew I wouldn't be happy if I didn't swap out that block.  Next time I will listen to my head and replace any block that bothers me before assembling and basting the top!

08 September 2017

New Quilt Group, New Project ...

My quilting mojo is back with a bang! My head is swimming with ideas for new patterns and quilts I want to make, after so many months it is a good feeling 😃

I have finished the appliqué on my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt and now just need to decide on colours for the pieced border (this could take some time!)

I have joined a new quilt group - The Queen Bee Quilters which meet weekly on a Thursday morning, several of my friends who worked on the Magna Carta Quilts with me are members, and I am looking forward to sewing with  them again.  I decided that a new group needed a new project 🤣

Last year I subscribed to a BOM for the Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses quilt

EPP in Liberty fabrics, I loved the fabrics so much that I appropriated some of them for my Happy Days Quilt!

Which left me with a pile of 1" square and elongated hexagon papers - what to do with them? As usual I knew I wanted to make some kind of version of Lucy's quilt but with a twist. Then I stumbled across this modern version 'Lucy's Terrace' by Jodi from Tales of Cloth where she has taken the blocks and set them on point.

I love it! Jodi has very generously shared her pattern for free, you can get it HERE

Her version uses 1 1/4" pieces and I have 1" so I may have to adjust things as I go, but it is a start. I also wanted to explore making a low volume (low contrast) quilt, something I have never done.  I have bought some new fabrics just for this quilt 😃 Jodi also does a lot of fussy cutting, so I bought 1/2m of some so I could do the same

I have decided to make most of the blocks very low volume, with the greys, mint, pale blues etc and use the coral fabrics for the setting squares. I am not sure if it will work but it is fun trying! I have cut the first few blocks.

31 August 2017

17 in 2017 August Progress

I have spent most of my sewing time this month starting new projects (!) more on that later...

for Meredith's WIP challenge this month I have been concentrating on catching up with Down the Rabbit Hole. It is getting too big to take a photo of now - I just have four more leaves to appliqué and then I am all caught up for the next border due today 😃

See how everyone else has done this month on Meridith's blog https://pomegranateandchintz.wordpress.com

17 August 2017

Down the Rabbit Hole - All Caught Up (Almost!)

It is no secret that I really enjoy hand work, and although I have a lovely old Bernina, we are not the best of friends :(  In the last couple of years I have tried to challenge myself by choosing to make quilts that stretch me and take me out of my comfort zone.  This year's BOM by Sarah Fielke has certainly done that and I have loved every minute of it so far!!

We started the year by machine piecing the central wedge, a challenge indeed, but with patience and excellent instructions I managed.

Next came the lollipop flowers and leaves, much more to my liking - lots of wonderful needle turn appliqué, I raced through February and March :) even adding a couple of little insects

Then came April and the paper pieced house border - I ground to a halt, whilst I love the accuracy of paper piecing I really don't like it! The fabrics sat on my desk all summer while I jumped ahead to the appliqué for May, June and July, telling myself that it was really too hot to sit at the machine.  This week the weather has been a lot cooler, and as I really love this quilt, I needed to piece this border so I could move on.  I decided to simplify the houses, omitting the pieced windows and choosing patterned fabrics instead, I did paper piece the roofs and I happy with the end result.

I had already appliquéd the corner sunflower blocks, so I was able to add this border fairly quickly

The next border contains the rest of the sunflowers and dresden plates, again I had already completed most of the appliqué so these went on fast too

It is now too big for my little design wall, so I have it draped over the banister

I just have to appliqué the sunflower leaves and I am all caught up ready for 31st August and the next machine pieced border (!)