Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Half Square Triangle Hell

It was the first meeting of the year for Country Roads Quilters yesterday and we started the actual stitching (there's been a lot of planning and preparation to reach this point) of our quilt that we are intending to enter at the Festival of Quilts this year.  This is the block I made, apart from the business meeting and lunch, it took me all day!  I so rarely do this sort of patchwork these days that I found it exhausting, but I am pleased with my block and even more pleased that other members produced lovely blocks too.  I think the quilt is going to be a success, we are currently deciding on quilting designs, more planning and decisions!  We are very fortunate that one member, Liz, took on the role of both designer and co-ordinator of the project, she has done an excellent job and continues to do so.
Here are some of us at work, you can see the concentration!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Journal Quilts 2016

Decision made!  I have signed up to take part in the Journal Quilt Challenge 2016 with the QGBI Contemporary Group.  So, here are the challenge rules:

1.  One JQ for each month.
2.  8" x 10" portrait format.
3.  Include an area not less than ½" square of a set colour, this must be included as a whole, not cut up and used in several areas.
January - April a little bit of purple
May - August a little bit of green
September - December a little bit of orange

I have to say it was the colour rule that made me hesitate about signing up, I'm fine with green but don't usually work with either purple or orange.  So it's a case of the "outside my comfort zone" thing.

My own guidelines will include working with textured fabrics and silks, including hand stitching and some new techniques (new to me that is) and I would like to have an outline design for the year in mind so that the journal quilts sit together as a whole eventually.  So it's a case of finding some purple fabric and watching this space......could indigo be described as purple?!!!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Sew Early for Christmas

Yesterday and today I've had a bit of a production line going.  I have decided that I would like to do more work using silk fabrics and to use fabrics of differing textures to add another dimension to my work.  Inspired by the work of my quilt guru, Teresa, I thought I'd start with a Christmas tree in folded patchwork.  So I made a pile of these.

Then I tweaked them a little to get the points as sharp as I could, pressed them and added some beads.

With the addition of more beads and a ribbon to hang the decoration up, ta dah! Now all I have to do is remember where I put it when Christmas comes around.


I'm sure you know how to make these little folded decorations but here's a quick tutorial for anyone who doesn't.  Using cotton patchwork fabric will give you a neater, more accurate finish, I was using a variety of silk fabrics with differing weights and textures.
1.  Sew two contrasting equilateral triangles
of fabric together right sides together, leaving a
small gap, turn to right side, slip stitch the opening.

2.  Fold each point to the centre and stitch in place.
3.  Turn work over and stitch the centre point
of each open side to the mid point.
4.  Stitching finished, tweak the fabric
into place - 
5.  and press.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

A New Year, A New Toy

Lynda Monk was having a clear out, as we all do at this time of the year.  I am now the excited owner of one of these
although it will be a very long time before I have that many bobbins on my kumihimo maradui.  Here's a short video to show you the basic idea:
I did a little kumihimo weaving when I was in Japan, I've found the posts and then spent quite a while looking back through photographs and feeling very nostalgic for my Indigo Sisters, Bryan, the other lovely people I met in Japan, and the whole experience of the Japanese Textile Study Tour in 2012.

So, one of the things I do this year will be to weave some braids.  Lynda sent me three books of instruction and inspiration too and I shall look forward to my first opportunity to go shopping for threads!  I remember enjoying the rhythmic "click, clack" of the bobbins when I was in Japan, so soothing although a lot of concentration is required.

I am currently trying to decide whether to commit to the Contemporary Group's Journal Quilt challenge again this year.  The quilts are to be larger, 8"x10" portrait, and there are rules concerning colours.  I am pondering.  Other exciting happenings include the quilt we are making at Country Roads Quilters which will be entered in FoQ this year and the current techniques swap we are having at Global Piecers, foundation piecing this month.  There's a lot to look forward to, plus a forecast of snow later this week, finally it might be Winter!