A sewing day with Nottingham Patchwork Group and I now have a heat proof curling tongs travel mat. I saw the sheep fabric and couldn't resist it. I used heat proof wadding and reflective ironing cover material and just sort of made up the pattern. I wanted something that wouldn't be too bulky but would protect the wand and be heat proof too. It had it's first packing outing on our Yorkshire holiday and passed the test with flying colours.
I love it when a quilt is finished and this quilt has been even longer in the making than most. The quilt top was finished about 3 years ago and was then superceded by another more pressing project (and then another etc), and then packed in a box when we moved house. Since our 'short stay' in rented accommodation has become a long stay I found the box when we shifted stuff from one storage space to another and rummaged around until I found the quilt top and some wadding and then quilted it periodically at Nottingham Patchwork Group's monthly Sunday sewing sessions. It now fulfils it's purpose in life as a birthday present for a daughter in lieu of a poncho. I was so relieved when she didn't want a poncho....Hopefully it will spend many happy years as a cuddly throw on a sofa.
This quilt started life as the left over blocks from a previous quilt, hence the turquoise and blue centre section. The rest of it is made from a load of pre-cut squares bought at Nottingham Patchwork Group so is actually made from the left over bits of other peoples quilts as well as my scraps and left overs. I enjoyed the piecing of the squares into half square triangle blocks - some might find it boring but I found it to be quite relaxing just chain piecing the squares together; the sort of stitching you can do whilst listening to a story. Then there was the positioning of the blocks and I tried really hard to co-ordinate the colours around the centre block so that the colours blended and changed. The strip framing each round of blocks was tactical as well as useful in finishing off some fabric as it made the next row of blocks fit without having to do too much in the way of measuring and maths. The only fabric bought for this quilt was the backing which is a nice paw print fabric, good for hiding less than perfect quilting and fun for a pet loving daughter.
Today has been a lovely, relaxing sewing day in the company of nice people making nice things. A glow of niceness is surrounding me. It has also been a productive day as I'm making the most of these sewing Sundays to makes some finishes to things started a long time ago. This time, I'm working on a quilt top that I completed at least 2.5 years ago. It's a scrap quilt who's mission was to use some left over blocks from another quilt, so these form the centre of the quilt. The rest of it is made from a load of half square triangle blocks that I made from piles of scrap 5" squares bought at Nottingham Patchwork Group. This part was an experiment for me in scrap quilting - ie making a load of disparate squares of fabric which just don't go together at all, to look absolutely fantastic and beautifully coordinated. I was really pleased with the result, especially the way that the colours transition around the quilt as I laid it out to colour blend from reds and greens, to blues and then browns, and so on. The only trouble was that when I had finished I just wasn't keen on the centre blocks compared to the outer scrap blocks. The passage of time works wonders though, because now I really like it. I must have just looked at it so much before that I got quilt fatigue. Anyway, today's objective was to layer up the quilt with the backing fabric and the wadding, first cutting the backing fabric and joining it together to fit. I was a bit frugal when I bought the backing fabric and it was only just big enough so hopefully I've got it centred properly. I thought it would take all day to do that, but it only took the morning. It was really nice to be able to do it on tables rather than lots of grovelling around on the floor, which has been my usual modus operandi. After lunch I started the quilting and since I'm quilting it simply I think I should be able to finish it the next time I have a sewing Sunday. Mind you, my next sewing Sunday is a workshop so I will end up with yet another thing to finish - you start some, you finish some :)
At last I have finished the African style quilt I started almost 2 years ago at a Quiltessential workshop, run by the lovely Ann Maynor. The pattern is very much a freeform log cabin style, so there is absolutely no measuring, which surprisingly can be a bit of a challenge when the emphasis is usually on perfect precision and repeating blocks. You just start with a wonky square or oblong, add wonky strips and just build up the blocks to suit the fabrics. The hardest part was joining the different blocks together as this involved a lot of thinking and moving and squaring up the blocks. For the border I used one of my favourite methods of using up bits of fabric by doing a piano key style. I hate ending up with loads of bits as it all seems such a waste.The quilting was also a bit of a challenge as I used my little sewing machine and only quilted at Sewing Sundays (arranged by Nottingham Patchwork Group).
Having such funky fabrics meant that I didn't need to do any fancy quilting, it was pretty much stitch in the ditch around all the blocks. I had to try and keep the quilting quite tidy because the quilt backing was a thrifty option of a plain black cotton sheet which had been rejected for being too small (for my son's bed). The finished quilt is now brightening up our bed in our poky little flat. Here is the quilt turned around so that you can see the blocks on the other end (the bedroom is a bit small to show both sides of the bed).
At last a day of sewing. Having packed up most of my sewing stuff for the duration of the barn conversion I've been pretty much restricted to hand crafts, and crochet has been the craft of the moment. However, today I joined Nottingham Patchwork Group ladies for a day of sewing. The community hall at Wollaton had been booked for a day of sewing and everyone brought their current project(s). I took a quilt that had been layered with the quilt top, wadding and backing and was ready for the final quilting. Bearing in mind that this had all been prepared long before we moved house but it was packed up along with the rest. Actually, not quite with all the rest because I could at least find this and my sewing machine. The majority of the sewing gear is in storage as there just isn't the space to set up in our tiny flat. I was a bit worried that I had forgotten what to do, but with a bit of fiddling around setting up the machine and picking out some thread for quilting, I was on my way. It's a bit of a struggle manoeuvring the quilt through the neck on my machine as it is quite petite, but I had plenty of space around me so didn't get stressed out with the wrestling. It was really interesting seeing what the very talented ladies of the group were working; from applique to foundation piecing to quilting. A couple of ladies brought a few projects to work on - they really are very prolific compared to my quilting efforts. My quilt is an african themed quilt which will be a throw for a sofa when finished. I will reveal all when it is finished. I managed about a third of the quilting on the main body, then there will be the border and then the edging, so it won't be finished for a while yet. No rush though, because the sofa that it will go on is in storage as well!