Friday, December 09, 2011

Getting better

Well several groups will be pleased to know I am feeling a lot better than I was. I'm not 100% yet, but I'm functional (mostly). Thursday was hectic, and rather stupidly I forgot to take any pictures. On the other hand I would have been tempted to a picture of their loo (it was stunning) so maybe it is just as well. It was an early start as I was the before lunch speaker for a local group. Travelling at rush hour in London isn't much fun. The venue though is a very rural looking church hall. It's amazing how close the country is to the edge of town. I managed to get the new van there OK, it's not a lot bigger than the old van but it has a huge turning circle, so it is taking a bit of thought in small hall car parks. I am sure I will get it sorted soon.

I was lucky to be able to get into the hall in good time so by the time the members turned up I was unloaded, set up and ready to chat to the members. I don't often get enough time to do this and I really enjoyed it. I hope the group did too. The talk ran to time and I found a few great helpers who made sure I was packed and out on time. Perhaps the promise of lunch helped encourage them, it certainly smelled good. Sadly I couldn't stay as I had a class at 1.30 in Hemel Hempstead.

My regular classes are largely free form with students choosing their own projects to work on. This means I tend to get a mixture of very quiet lessons and manic ones. It just seems to work out that everyone needs help at the same time. typically the week I would have really liked a quiet class, I got a busy class. It was quiet fun though especially as one of the needy students was trimming up a top from one of my patterns to put on borders. The quilt she is making is "Where is the North Star?" a quilt I made some time ago for a theme category in the Quilts UK show.

Usually when you make a quilt the most work is in producing the blocks. The assembly is usually quite quick and easy by comparison. Like much of my work this quilt does things differently. You start by making the borders, they need the largest pieces of fabric for the border so it is safer to do them first. Then making the blocks is pretty simple and once you get into the swing of it quite quick. The work actually starts when you get to putting the blocks together. there are no rows and columns in the quilt all the blocks are put together using partial seams. It's not really hard but it is awkward and time consuming. Then comes the trimming. The blocks are all at an angle so you need to trim quite a lot off your top to get the right size for the borders, and you don't want to make any mistakes at that stage. Measure twice cut once? Not likely. I think we measured 4 or 5 times to be certain we had it right. It is looking stunning and I may have to get a picture of it soon.

While I have been ill I've spent more time on the computer than usual and I've been looking at quilt patterns. I've had a few inspirations for new patterns and I like to know they aren't already out an about. It is amazing how often two (or more) people think of the same thing at the same time. In my lessons I've come across some really terrible patterns but there are some good ones out there and even some free good patterns. I'd like to share a couple I think would be good for people to try. These are patterns that I think would be forgiving and at the same time help improve your piecing skills.

A lot of ladies struggle both with accurate cutting and 1/4" seams, so I am always on the look out for ways to cope with this but give you the chance to spot your issues. The first one that I spotted is Dueling Personalities, by Rebecca Silbaugh. The pattern talks about making two quilts but you don't need to make 2, just work with 20 fat quarters and off you go. It gives you a fair amount of cutting to do but don't let it put you off, the patterns talks you through it very nicely. I also like the way she makes her half square triangles, slightly over size then trimmed to perfection. All in all a lovely quilt and a great learning experience.

Another pattern I really like is Apple Crate by Angela. I like the fact that this quilt will give you a lot of scope for checking both your seam width and your pressing, but again will be quite forgiving. My only reservation is in using a jelly roll to make it. I think that you won't get a block A with matching rings from all jelly rolls. I think you need two strips of the same colour. Please check my logic as I am still not quite with it but as a quilt from yardage or fat quarters as suggested in the pattern it should be fantastic and quite quick.

The last quilt that caught my eye was this one. Birchbark Lodge by Stacey Carey. This is really a quilt for someone who either has their 1/4" seam down perfectly or who is confident changing some methods used in a pattern. For me I would also make it bigger, but I like big quilts. I love the pattern. It's got a traditional feel and it's scrappy. What is there not to like? It has some interesting ideas in it and I can't wait to have a go at this one.

Hopefully some of these will inspire you and you will forgive me for giving you somewhere to waste a lot of time. I think I need to head to bed. I've got an early start tomorrow for another Christmas Lunch. Worthing Patchworkers here I come.

1 comment:

Susan Briscoe said...

'Apple Crate' would need 2 jelly rolls in theory - unless the white strips are all the same and cut from yardage - it is similar to my 'Masu' quilt in 'Japanese Quilt Inspirations, but that only uses one jelly roll. Masu has square not rectangular blocks though. Re the need for duplicate strips, yes, you'd need two of each for the outer ones to match, but I got round it with a jelly roll with some duplicates and then selecting other fabrics that were similar enough to use in pairs.