Friday, 13 December 2013

The only thing I really dislike about quilting... quilting.

Bear with me - I love picking out fabrics, I love choosing patterns and cutting out and piecing - I even like hand-sewing the back of the binding.  Unfortunately there's another quite important part of quilting, and that's layering up your backing, batting and quilt top and then sewing them together, and it's that part that makes me groan.

Ella's Doll Quilt is FINALLY at the stage where I can begin quilting it, but I'm not at all sure what sort of pattern to use.  I wanted to free-motion quilt it with some cheerful stars and hearts, so I thought I'd have a practice on my kaleidoscope scrappy quilt.

I set up my beautiful machine very carefully, quilting table and all:

What could possibly go wrong?

I had a quick practice on a spare bit of batting and some of the backing fabric I was using.  I decided to do a nice, simple, quatrefoil motif to sit in the middle of the diamond shapes.  I drew it out in white pencil, took a deep breath, and got stuck in.

But unfortunately, free-motion quilting is not my friend.

...oh, my.

So I spent a jolly hour or two cursing and unpicking all those horrible wonky stitches, vowed not to be beaten, and quilted the entire thing with GOOD, SENSIBLE STRAIGHT LINES.


It doesn't have the binding on yet since I wanted to crack on with Ella's quilt, but now you see the dilemma I am in.  I have finished the top, pieced the back, and pin-basted Ella's very carefully, but December is hurtling onwards and it MUST, MUST be finished by Christmas.  Any thoughts?

Pins in, time to get stitching.  Um.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Getting hectic already...

... and it's still 3 weeks to Christmas.  Yipes!

As if I didn't have enough on, this week Trainboy's school was asking parents to help out with making costumes.  I volunteered, of course, with visions of sparkly Angel dresses, Wise Men's robes, maybe even a fluffy donkey?  Too good to pass up, I thought.

Turns out, they've already got costumes for those.  What they needed was black waistcoats for the choir.

Black waistcoats on a slightly rumpled white bed.  Thrilling stuff.

So, six black waistcoats were made yesterday.  Festive, aren't they?  To be fair, I believe the idea is to also make little red ties and sashes, which can be replaced with different colours to suit the themes in years to come.  It's a good idea, really.

And now I am free again to get on with more colourful things like Ella's quilt, my first kaleidoscope quilt, the box in the garage that needs another coat of varnish, and a million other things, not least listing the last of Material Goods' stock on eBay (go on, have a look, you know you want to).

For now though, I will stick with just one colourful thing: these two arrived in the post recently and it's about time I sat down and looked at them. 

Tunnocks, coffee and pretty quilting stuff to read.  Bliss.

The first is 500 Quilt Blocks (signed by the author, no less!) which is basically like Woolworth's pick 'n' mix counter for quilters.  I've been browsing it a little at bedtime and it's just lovely, full of ideas to get your inspiration sparking.  It takes a few minutes to get the hang of how the instructions are written, but once you get the swing of their shorthand, they're very clear and sensible.

The second is "Love Patchwork and Quilting" which still has its initial subscription offer on.  It's got fabulous, modern patterns in and this month came with some pins - perfect, since I have a dreadful habit of hoovering mine and ending up with very few...

As a parting note, did you know there is also a magazine called "Love Quilting and Patchwork" with a very similar cover design?  I know, it's as if the universe WANTS me to get confused and flustered, and goodness knows I don't need any help.

See you next week!