Thursday, 27 June 2013

Sharing obsessions in reverse order.(quilting)

I have over the years shared what I do with others.  I will no doubt go over some of those occurrences and the results at a later date. However, currently I am the guide to a quilting group at church and today is our one year anniversary.

In May last year I was asked if I would show the sisters (all female members of our church are referred to as sisters) how to make quilts.  I agreed to participate in a meeting once a month and so the quilting group was formed.  Our first meeting took place in June 2012, with the sisters bringing along fabric and raring to get started.

The participants all had different levels of sewing ability or experience.  After a quick discussion (and a bit of a show and tell of some of my finished quilts),  almost all opted to try nine patch patterns for baby quilts.  The exception is my best friend and as such she is already well steeped in my, now our obsession as she had a quilt already under way (whilst not a member of our church she joins us as a most welcome quilter). Although choosing the same basic pattern the different material choices resulted in quite different quilt designs.

The theme for the group, well what else would it be "not perfect, unique!" At Christmas I made pin cushions for all the group (myself included) using scraps from the quilts being made with our motto on the back and first initial on the front. The design is a logcabin variation generally know as either church or courthouse steps so it seemed appropriate for a church group.  They can be worn around the neck and have some very stiff material behind the sponge to prevent the user inadvertently pinning themselves

Church steps pin cushions


I will admit that I did not have high expectations for the group lasting past a meeting or two or even to the end of a project. Now, a year on, each of the original members have finished at least one project, from a quilted hot water bottle cover to baby quilts and lap quilts.  Some are onto their second or even third project. We are trying a new pattern out, postage stamp with strip piecing and our numbers have expanded by one.  Happy to remain small we have inspired a similar group to form at the branch of our church in a neighbouring town.

For our groups anniversary I made a little badge for us all with scissor charms. Here they are part way through making them.
Badges in the making. 

In addition I have a sewing box for the group to use,  and a felt needle case, both adorned with the group motto in the gold and blue colours of the church women's organisation Relief Society.  It will be a place to put the bits and bobs being donated to the group for shared use, and for those meetings where we forget to bring something vital, like a needle!

Sewing box with needle case and the badges

Badges and needle case all wrapped up ready for the meeting.


In the first months I was kept quite busy each meeting, answering the sisters questions and offering solutions to the problems they encountered.  More recently, they need me much less and very soon I anticipate I will need to have my own project to work on.

Perhaps I should be thinking what we can do for our second anniversary, but for today, Happy Birthday Quilting Group.  

Sunday, 16 June 2013

A touch of lace

The  exception to the self, book or friend taught crafts which will appear here is lace making.  I attended a council run "for leisure" adult education class for a few months run by and elderly Belgium lady from Bruges one of the most famous places for the making of lace.  The class was in bobbin lace not sewn lace.  It is made on a pillow of sorts, there are different designs for those. My first one was a big square of heavy polystyrene. 

The type of bobbins used vary depending on the lace making style and the pillow. For example in Malta the main style is for long ribbons of lace made on long thin pillows and the bobbins are very like mini baseball bats in appearance with the weight of the thick end providing tension to the work. For flat pillows which are geared to patterns which turn corners the bobbins are an even shape with a small hole at the end through which a wire onto which beads are attached, this beaded loop at the end of the bobbin stops it rolling and tangling the threads when not in use.  I have heard the beads refereed to as spangles and attaching the beads to spangling the bobbin. Theresa, my teacher never used that term however, she just called it beading.

There are different thicknesses of thread to use depending on the design you are making.  A sampler band was the first thing I did, learning the various combinations of moving the bobbins over and under to make tight sections or filling stitches. The first proper project was the edge for a doily with a fanned edge and corners to navigate.





I was very pleased with the result once it was attached to its linen base with the special cross stitch which added both to the decorative effect and sealed the raw edge of the material.

For my second project I wanted to make a gift for my mother. I shall come back to that and the linked craft of "spangling" later.   

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A matter of perception (quilting)

I chose my first patchwork project from a book I got at the library. I wanted a cover for a little quilt my grandmother had given me.  Made of polyester, it slipped off the bed all the time but it had sentimental value so I wanted to both keep and use it.  I thought a cotton cover would fix the problem.

I had thought of patchwork but all those geometric shapes and templates put me off.  Here however, in the book was a pattern that looked easy. No template required just a ruler and away you go.

The pattern was for a logcabin variation, no base square with the design marked on and not one central square.  I have never seen another book which did not start with a base square onto which the strips would be added.  If this book had that perhaps I would never have started.  Subsequent books tell me this is a difficult pattern and not for a beginner.  But as my book (sorry can't recall the title or author, it was about 23 year ago!) said no such thing. I chose material (greys with a touch of pink ) and off I started, using an every day ruler and a pencil to mark the lines (not recommended it does not come out well, I got away with it because my material was mostly grey).

On this first quilt I did go with a light and dark effect with my chosen fabrics you can just about see the diamond pattern this made.

My first logcabin patchwork quilt cover. 

I decorated the corners with dragons, I hope you like dragons, they will be a reoccurring theme in my work.  I don't care much for doing the same thing twice so having one in each corner was a slow job.  I also added the spheres with wings ( ok so they are supposed to be flaming pearls but I didn't know that then) to balance things out.

Corner dragon


I did the patchwork on this quilt by hand with the boarders on a sewing machine.  It would be the first and last without a sewing machine for both patchwork and finishing.  

Logcabin will also be a regular feature, but it shouldn't be too boring, it is a pattern which lends itself to wonderful variation. For me it is my quilting default, the first pattern I think of when I look at material, and it is the easiest for me to do, others have a different perception.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

A begining

it took me awhile to choose a title for my blog about my crafting hobbies.  I do a few different things on a regular basis.  Sometimes I try something new at Church or with a friend .  Occasionally this is added to the things I do.  I have a short attention span and therefore tend to be working on several projects in parallel, a patchwork of crafts.  And so a title was reached, happily one that did not appear to have been already taken.

I expect this blog to be a mix of past completed projects, ongoing projects including those wonderful UFP's  (unfinished projects) all crafters' tend to build up and plans for future projects, of which I tend to have more than the time to do.  But then isn't that part of the fun?