04 December 2017

Quarterjack Quilters' Christmas Speaker

Every December local quilt group Quarterback Quilters put on a Christmas lunch with a speaker in the afternoon.  I used to belong to this group before my move to Yorkshire some years ago but although not a member there are tickets available to non members to enjoy their hospitality and it's good to catch up with people I've not seen for a while.

The speaker this year was Alicia Merrett, whose work you may have seen in quilting exhibitions, usually known for her quilted maps.  There was some of her work on display and I took a few pictures and there are more details on her website.  Her talk was about the exhibition in New York in 2003 about the Quilts of Gees Bend and how it influenced her work.

For this not familiar with the Gees Bend quilts, these were naive style quilts made by African American women in small community virtually cut off from the outside world in whatever fabrics they had and there are some images here

I took some photos of the afternoon

 This was the intro from the slideshow presentation.
 Afterwards I took a couple of photos of one of Alicia's quilts
A close up shows the detail of her stitching, using contrasting and matching thread and different free machine patterns.

 The quilt above looks influenced by Gees Bend as well as curves and free machine quilting there is also the addition of decorative machine stitches.
 A map of a village at night, the bright colours pop against the black background, but again the coloured thread is used for quilting to give more interest.
There was a members' challenge for which I didn't take photos until they took the pieces down, so I caught a couple of small wall hangings before they were taken away!

 A lovely Christmas candle mat
And an equally lovely robin on a tree stump.

A lovely afternoon was had and while I was out David was at Corfe Castle signal box while the Santa Special train was running on Swanage Railway.  He already had a Christmas jumper from last year which he'd bought at the National Railway Museum and I found just the hat to go with it.

We're gradually getting into the Christmas spirit!

03 December 2017

Post 651

Not sure what to call this post as its a miscellany of things.  Day out in Salisbury (nothing unusual in that as the city isn't a long journey from where we live), my birthday (what - another?) and more makings from the Stitched Sewing Organizers (apologies again, this a US book title).

On Saturday we went to Salisbury to the museum there which currently has an exhibition of the late Terry Pratchett's life and work and the artwork of two artists who worked on his books.  Terry was the author of the Discworld fantasy books who live locally to Salisbury, but what we hadn't realised was that there was a book signing event too with the signing of a new book called Terry Pratchett's Imaginarium by artist Paul Kidby. who was the illustrator of the Discworld books. The museum was bustling with fans of his books (some dressed like some of the characters in the books) but it was worth seeing including the display of his office.

As the museum was busy we decided to take this in two parts and went across to the Cathedral for lunch. It was a cold if brilliantly sunny day and this made most of the detail from the front of the Cathedral, even from a distance

And the photo below was from the quadrangle
We took the opportunity to see the Magna Carta, one of only 4 of the originals in the country. amazing that the writing was so clear and well preserved  having been written in the 13th century and it is housed in the Chapter House, of the quadrangle, which in itself is an amazing piece of architecture.

After that back to the museum to see the other parts of the building and seeing a gallery of Iron and Bronze Age and also Roman discoveries and artifacts from the surrounding Wiltshire countryside.  Also rooms with Salisbury history and ceramic and costume galleries with quilts. I was able to take a few photos without flash with my phone.

 The two pics above are the same quilt, and a map of one of the villages.  Below a Grandmother's fan quilt.  Sorry I didn't take much information here. Also there were a lot of examples of Downton lace, worked in Downton just south of Salisbury.
So after visiting there we moved on into the shopping areas and all the bustle of Christmas shoppers but we also took time to see the Christmas market stalls there.

My birthday was came and went (62 years now) but saving celebrating until David and my 40th anniversary in December, when we go away for the weekend.

I've made a couple more items from The Stitched Sewing Organizers book, one of which I'm quite disappointed with, but have found out that others on the Instagram feed have also had problems with. It's a boxy pouch and I had a fight with the fusible wadding sticking to the woven interlining, but when all put together the corners of the pockets on the side of the pouch didn't tuck into the seam allowance of the bag ends.  So it will require some re-working, but you know the feeling when something hasn't gone right in the process and doesn't end well either.  Either undo and start again or chuck it all and start anew.  Still deciding on that one....

I also made a Sliding Box which was quite a bit larger than thought.  I used Fast 2 Fuse for stiffness, which worked ok, but not as effective as pelmet Vilene would have been.  In spite of that it looked good and pleased with the resulting box.

So that's it for post 651.

19 November 2017

Pouches, Folio and Other Makings

This week I had a couple of days off as well as my usual Wednesday day off.  Theres been some sorting of things around the house and the purchase of a new television - a smart one - to cover forthcoming birthdays, wedding anniversary and Christmas to each other.  Technology has changed so much over a short time but now up to date (for the time being).

However I've also had the opportunity to make things too.  On Instagram I've seen photos of people having made items from Aneela Hoey's book of "Stitched Sewing Organizers" (sorry for the Americanism - it is a US published book).  I bought the book back in August after FoQ as I couldn't see it there so had to be an Amazon purchase.  This is the pic I took back then with some yarn I'd also bought at that time.  It was when reading Jennie's Threads, whose blog I follow, that was the encouragement for me to have a go.

I haven't followed the SAL (sew along) as I've come into this late and I have also used what I've had and have probably not used the correct items to make what I have, but what I already have in stash. If you wish to know more the person who's organised the SAL, Penny of Tuppence Ha'penny Quits has details on her blog here.

It has encouraged me to jump in and make this small Handy Fold Up Pouch.  It took a small amount of fabric and interfacing so was simple to do.


As you can see if has a flap that goes into a band on the front and it a size handy for some threads, or ear-phones - something small.  I've used this for some large needles for sewing up knitted items.

Next I made a small box container - the patters shows 2 small containers that fit into one larger and would be good as a stationary container.  This small one now sits to the right of my sewing machine, just handy for holding binding clips, pins and other bits until I can put them away in their proper places.

I had some, think it's called Fast to Fuse, to provide the stiffness to the box shape and also has a fusible glue to attach the fabrics front and back.  It was another simple project that just took an evening to do.

I also made a drawstring project bag, which had hexagon tabs at the end of the drawstrings.

This made use of the aboriginal style fabric that I had in purple with a grey contrast fabric at the drawstring channel.  There should have been fabric strings but I found that twill tap did the job just as well and I fussy cut some circles in the fabric pattern for the hexie ends.  It is padded out with a 100 gram ball of wool and the size just does nicely for a sock knitting project with yarn and circular needles.

I then went on to make another project bag but this time one for keeping cut out pieces in for sewing so that they don't go wandering!

 Although looking simple, this pouch involved vinyl, which I've never worked with but also making binding, which I have made previously but just joining strips end to end at an angle.  This binding worked cutting a square to make half square triangles and rejoining to make a rhombus then rejoining again before cutting a continuous binding strip.  Never made that before and took a bit of time to work it out but work it did and really pleased as it came in useful for this...

Pieces for the Fold Up Folio, which has two side pockets with zips, another pocket inside, pincushion and needle book

 Inside of the folio before being sewn to the exterior
 Finished folio
All joined together from the inside

I had a disaster right when I was pressing for the last time that I forgot the vinyl pocket (at the top) and melted part of it, only a small bit, but I don't fancy taking things apart to repair.  I may pretty it up with a bit of washi tape.

Of the five items made so far I think that the See-it-All pouch may be the most useful to me for all the little cut out pieces and may make some more in different sizes.  There are more items to make so watch this space, but I am enjoying this book and even though I've made a lot of bags and pouches over the years there's still something new to learn.

I am currently working on the Boxy Pocket Pouch, which will be interesting  attaching another zipped pocket to the side of a pouch.  See how that goes.

09 November 2017

Two finishes

It was my Mum's birthday on Tuesday and I went to visit her yesterday for a short trip out to Nicola's Craft and Gift shop at Sammy Miller's Motorcycle Museum, a lovely drive out between Christchurch and New Milton.  As well as craft units and coffee shop there are some animals there too - donkeys. alpacas, a goat and several others. Anyway Nicola's shop had a sale so a chance to stock up with fabric.

Before going there I gave Mum her birthday present.  This squishy bear. This is one of my finishes for this quarter which I couldn't say anything about!  I have to say that although it was easy to knit the Sirdar Snowflake yarn trying to sew up wasn't easy but the effect is a lovely soft fabric.  After making the outfit, this was from The Bear Book 2 which has sporty bears I had found the first Bear Book which had some other outfits so may make something else to ring the changes. But I'm pleased and more importantly Mum's pleased so much so she share a pic on Facebook!

Amongst my purchases from Nicola's which wasn't very much I bought a bag kit.

I've made a lot of bags, pouches so you may wonder why I bought a kit.  I had reached a stitching hiatus and hadn't felt much like sewing of late so to have something where the fabric was already chosen and cut to size and all you have to do is just sew was what I needed and yesterday afternoon I completed the bag, which folds down to look like a purse, handy to take out and about.  The pattern instructions gave sizes of fabric pieces to make another.  I'm really pleased with something so quick and easy with the bonus of lovely cheery fabric too.

 The outside of the bag (the photo was taken in the evening so please excuse the phone's shadow!)
And folded into a purse.

I'm pleased to say that I have 2 finishes under my belt this week.

30 October 2017

This and That

Or bits and bobs, odds and sods.  Whatever you want to call it.  I don't like that British Summer Time has ended and the day is darker earlier, in fact almost dark by the time I get home from work.  I feel the first week as though I have jet lag and struggle until my body gets used to the new time.  Ugh!

Last weekend we had a lovely time in West Sussex where my son Alex lives, with his wife and daughters and it was nice to see them all.  Next weekend will be taken up with more visiting to my sister and husband in Berkshire then my brother-in-law and his wife in Surrey, so a busy time.

Anyway, Saturday before last I went Shepton Mallet in Somerset for the Craft 4 Crafters Show at the Royal Bath and West Showground.  It was a lovely to enjoy a drive in spite of the occasional heavy shower.  I went on my own as no-one else wanted to come with me, but it meant I could go at my own pace.  The reason was to see the Magna Carta quilt which is actually 8 quilts joined at angles to give a pictorial history of the Magna Carta, signed in Runnymede, Surrey, along with images of people who made history defending human rights.  The back side of the quilts had a pixilated view of of the Thames in greens and blues with names of people who contributed in some way towards the making of the quilt.  The quilt has been travelling to various locations, but this was the first time I've seen it.  It will eventually have a permanent home at Royal Holloway College in Egham, Surrey.
I've not taken pics but I did buy a booklet about the quilt, but have a look at the website link above for more details.

Near the Magna Carta Quilt was a collection of Canadian Red Cross quilts called Comfort from Kindness which was from the collection of the late Dr Anna Mansi.  There are several images from Google here, but for those unfamiliar to the quilts, these were quilts made and donated by people from Canada to the UK during the Second World War and were made from whatever fabric was available.  I did take some photos of these as I find these old quilts fascinating.

 The first quilt above was a nine patch made from assorted cottons, as you can see the yellow fabric hasn't worn quite as well as the others and has shredded.
 This one was of squares and rectangles in strips.
 A traditional Maple Leaf quilt
 I was wondering how this quilt above was tied, it seems to be quite a thick yarn that looks almost like bobbles.
This quilt was made from woollen patches, probably suiting or from coats?  I'm not sure.  It was difficult to get to find out as I didn't want to touch.

Although the show had some lovely quilts exhibited and quilt suppliers I didn't buy anything! I did buy a hand dyed sock blank, which is a knitted piece of yarn which has been dyed and can be unravelled and knitted into socks or a shawlette, in lovely rainbow shades.

When going to West Sussex we stopped briefly in Chichester as I found on Facebook just the day before that Chichester Quilters had an exhibition in the Assembly Rooms in North Street.  As the former Town Hall it was a lovely old building that holds the Mayoral regalia and charters given to the town, so that was as interesting as the quilts.  Anyway here are a few pics.

 The group had a workshop with Gail Lawther, whose bird designs were used in several quilted objects which are appliqu├ęd though made to look like they've been stencilled. Very effective.
The lady who made this kaleidoscope quilt showed us how she made it from some Kaffe Fassett fabric, the back of the quilt had the who piece of the same fabric.

Then we saw pumpkins.  In the afternoon, David and I met up our daughter-in-law, Mary and the granddaughters to see the pumpkin display in Slindon, between Chichester and Arundel., which raises money for charity.

This is snakes and ladders made from different pumpkins and squashes and a very effective display. Below the flags are photos of displays in previous years.  Different varieties of pumpkins were for sale there too.

Want to see some pumpkin inspired knitting? Saw this yarn in Salisbury the other day which I went and bought.

This was a pic I put on Instagram (@suewilduk, in case you're interested). I tried a sample piece to see how this would turn out.  I have started knitting the Easy Lace Socks from the Winwick Mum blog.  I seem to have got the bug for sock knitting and quite enjoy making them and this is something a bit different.  I just hope I can keep track of the lace pattern!

So that's my this and that.