Monday, 27 May 2013

Nearly Insane Quilt - Draw 8

I am trying to get ahead of myself at the moment, so I have also made the next draw for my Nearly Insane Quilt.  Those blocks are

28 - 53 - 64 - 90

I have also updated the image of the overall progress I am making on the quilt, which is always sitting on the side bar of the blog.  I get this image from the Electric Quilt 5 software that I have.  It is easy to do, File - Export Snapshot, select the area you want to copy, and then I usually save it on the clipboard to open up in Photoshop.

Nearly Insane Quilt Progress
Nearly Insane Quilt Progress
May 2013

Considering it is all hand pieced, and that I only started it in February, I am please with my progress.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Nearly Insane Quilt - Block 87

Block 87 - Nearly Insane Quilt Corner Block
Block 87 - Nearly Insane Quilt Corner Block
I drew another corner block for the Nearly Insane Quilt.  As you may remember I have mixed it up a bit and changed a few edge blocks around, changing the original corner Block 92, for Block 87.  With just eight pieces, I almost did it in my sleep. It uses the 'Christmas Past' fabric by Minick and Simpson - did I say I met them in Nantes? ;)

Sometimes I think I should have approached the quilt like I would a jigsaw puzzle - seek out the corner pieces, then the edge pieces, then fill up the middle - leaving the sky until the end!

Christmas Past (#14547) by Polly Minick and Lauri Simpson for Moda
Red and White Stripe (unidentified)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Nearly Insane Quilt - Block 40

Block 40, Nearly Insane Quilt
Block 40, Nearly Insane Quilt
Presenting Block 40 of the Salinda Rupp / Liz Lois 'Nearly Insane' Quilt.  
This was a relatively straightforward one.  It has some of the largest pieces I have come across so far in this project,  so I took the opportunity to use a red and white Scandinavian fabric I have in my stash. 
Block 40, Nearly Insane Quilt
The pattern has diamonds with snowflakes in it, rather than exact squares, and I have been having trouble incorporating it into any of the other blocks, because the pattern is too big for the tiny pieces.  With a bit of fussy cutting, I think it has turned out nicely.  This is quite a simple block - does anyone have a name for it?

PS: I can't wait to get that green tacking thread out!

SMALLEST PIECE: Triangle, 1 1/16" (28mm) x 3/4" (19mm) x 3/4" (19mm)
LARGEST PIECE: Rectangle 3" (76mm) x 1 1.2" (38mm)

TECHNIQUE: English Paper Piecing (EPP)

Red and White Scandinavian Snowflake Fabric 
Red Dot on Cream - unidentified

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Celebrating Hand Quilting and Laura Ashley 60th Anniversary

Red and White Pinwheel Quilt Laura Ashley Spot
Red and White Pinwheel Quilt
Laura Ashley Red Spotty fabric

Over at Celebrate Hand Quilting they are hosting a blog hop this week.  It is well worth a look, as hand quilters all over the world are sharing their love for hand quilting.  I am not part of the Blog Hop, but I thought I would take this opportunity to show you my current hand quilting.
This is my current hand quilting project, my Red and White Pinwheel quilt, and on the reverse it is backed with a red spotty cotton lawn that I bought in the Laura Ashley sale many, many years ago.

Vintage Laura Ashley fabrics 1980s - 1990s
Vintage Laura Ashley fabrics 1980s - 1990s

If you delve into my everyday fabric stash (as opposed to my quilting fabric stash), you will find that it is largely made up from lengths of Laura Ashley dressmaking fabric purchased in the sales back in the 1980s and 1990s.  In those days the Laura Ashley Sale used to be a phenomenon, with people queuing around the block to get in.  I know -  I stood in the queue!  I always used to make a bee-line for the dressmaking fabrics, which were either Seconds or left overs from a print run which had been used to make last seasons dresses. Most of it was a lovely cotton lawn, very similar to the Liberty Lawn fabrics, but at a fraction of the price at £1.99 a metre. In those days I used to make loads of colourful summer shorts and trousers out of the fabric, and used to wear them until they were threadbear. Some of the fabrics you see here are old Laura Ashley skirts. I even have a set of the patchwork kits in my stash. Happy Days!

Today I have just heard that Laura Ashley are putting on a pop-up exhibition of their vintage clothes, celebrating 60 years, on 13th and 14th June 2013, in  London.  As it is on for such a short time, tickets are limited.  Not sure if I will manage to get up to London, but it would be great to see.

Also, between 13th July - 26th August 2013, the Museum of Costume in Bath, UK, is holding an exhibition alongside their normal display of historical costume, "Laura Ashley - The Romantic Heroine", which features the Romantic Style which she influenced during the 1970s.  It's a great costume museum, with a collection on par with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

If you have nostalgic memories of Laura Ashley, Ann Rippin has a blog, and has a strong interest in how Laura Ashley fabric touched everyday lives and their patchwork and quilting, and there may be an opportunity to get involved in her research.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Nearly Insane Quilt - Draw 7

Here are the latest blocks chosen for my Random Lucky Dip draw, which I use to determine which blocks I will do next in the Nearly Insane Quilt.

36 - 40 - 48 - 92

When I draw my Lucky Dip, I usually go straight to Liz Lois 'Nearly Insane' book, to see what they look like - how 'insane' are they going to be?
'Nearly Insane' Block Pattern book, by Liz Lois
'Nearly Insane' Block Pattern book, by Liz Lois
Then I move onto my Electric Quilt software, where I have already drafted out each block - and then I play.  There are so many combinations which I could choose from, I am almost glad I am sticking to  just red and cream!  
Working on Blocks in EQ5 Electric Quilt
Working on Blocks in EQ5
If there is a colour combination that I like, I either save it in my EQ Sketchbook, or simply take a picture of the computer screen on my iPad.  This allows me to compare the different options more instinctively, and once I am making up the block it acts as a quick reference for which fabrics should go where.
One of the reasons I am doing the project in batches, is so that I can get the fabric cut and prepared when I have more time at the weekend, in preparation for 'found moments' during my week, when I am usually working.
Electric Quilt Software Templates
Electric Quilt Software Templates
To include in the travel pack, I print off a full size Paper Template for cutting up into templates for each of the pieces, and a smaller Pattern Template sheet, as an indicator of which block I am making.  On the Fabric Template, Electric Quilt has its own indicators for each piece, but before I cut up the Paper Templates for my English Paper Piecing, I often mark which piece belongs to each fabric.  I have also found that if some of the pieces are asymmetrical, it is important to indicate which side is the front.  Once all this is done, I am set to go!

Nearly Insane Travel Packs English paper Piecing
Nearly Insane English Paper Piecing Travel Packs
As I make each draw, I am finding that fabric ‘fashions’ change quite quickly in my workroom.  Sometimes I want modern, sometimes traditional, sometimes I want it busy, sometimes more subdued.  Sometimes the blocks have a greater red influence, others a cream / white influence.  I think under the circumstances, my Lucky Dip works well, as each batch tends to have its own flavour, and by choosing the blocks randomly, they will eventually get mixed up together, rather than rows of what was in vogue at a certain time of making the quilt.  In contrast to my original thoughts, any attempts to make this a sophisticated, and refined quilt have slowly been going out the window, and I am more focussed on using as many fabrics as I can in the quilt. Scrappy is the name of the game!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Nearly Insane Quilt - Block 13

After the challenges of Block 43 , it was a relief to knock Block 13 off in a short time, with just nine pieces.  They were lovely BIG pieces, they were also lovely and SQUARE. I guess the variety in this quilt is what makes it so interesting!

Block 13 Nearly Insane Quilt
Block 13 Nearly Insane Quilt
Another Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater (Moda) showcase.  The red and cream cross hatch fabric is slowly becoming a favourite, having featured in quite a few of the blocks. 

I have made a start on the next block, which is Block 80, but have already made the next random draw, which I will let you know about in my next post, as I needed to get ahead with some cutting out.  It takes a bit of time to decide on the colour schemes, to cut out the paper templates, and fabric pieces for each block, and I tend to have more time to do this at the weekend.  Its great knowing that there is a good stream of hand piecing ready to do for when I am travelling about.

SMALLEST PIECE: Square, 1 1/2" (38mm) x 1 1/2" (38mm)

LARGEST PIECE: Rectangle 6" (152mm) x 3/4" (19mm)
TECHNIQUE: English Paper Piecing (EPP)

Apple Red on Cream Sewing Guide Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater for Moda  #5490 11
Cream Bias Check Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater for Moda  #5495 11
Lazy Daisy Red by "Mama Said Sew" Collection by Sweetwater for Moda  #5494 21

Joining Up with Finish Up Friday!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Nearly Insane Quilt - Block 43

A few weeks ago, for a bit of fun, I offered up a few options for this block that I had designed using my Electric Quilt software. Options 1 and 6 were popular, but in the end I opted for Option 4 (which was similar to Option 6), mainly because I was considering what blocks it would be placed next to.  Esther suggested I did all 6 .... thanks Esther...

Block 43, Nearly Insane Quilt Fabadashery
Block 43, Nearly Insane Quilt
This block is currently winning 'The Most Travelled Block' prize.  It has travelled all the way and back to the 'Dear Jane' Exhibition in France with me, whilst I stitched at my work station in the camper van. 

Sewing Nearly Insane blocks in the camper van
Sewing Nearly Insane blocks in the camper van
I did a bit more during the ferry crossing,

Sewing Nearly Insane blocks on the Ferry
Sewing Nearly Insane blocks on the Ferry
and I have been finishing it off on my train journey back and forth to work this week. 

Sewing Nearly Insane blocks on the train
Sewing Nearly Insane blocks on the train
It is a wonder that all the pieces made it into the block with the amount of times they went in and out of my bag.

Of the blocks I have done so far, I think this block has had the most pieces in it, standing at 100, exactly.  At first it was not too bad, as the majority of the pieces were the same shape and size, but making sure they were sewn together in the right order and direction has resulted in a few bits having to be unpicked.  
Then when it was together, it had a bit of a 'wave' to it, a wave that even a 'good press' would not eliminate.  Not good.  After several hours thinking 'it will be OK', I realised it would not be OK, and unpicked the corner squares and side triangles.  I also removed all the English paper piecing templates from the centre, to give myself a bit of ease, to get it back into shape.  It has taken the longest to make, partly because you have to check SO many times that everything is correct, and partly from having to unpick it. With all this extra work, there was a moment when I thought that making this quilt was not fun, but in that situation you just have to NOT put it away and deal with it, which is what I did.  Now it is done and I can move onto the next block. 

Actually, as a block I think it is quite pretty.

SMALLEST PIECE: Triangle, 11/16" (17mm) x 1/2" (13mm) x 1/2" (13mm)
LARGEST PIECE: Square 1" (25mm) x 1" (25mm)

TECHNIQUE: English Paper Piecing (EPP)

French General Favourites - Pearl  for Moda #13526 14
"Polka Party III" by Holly Holderman, Lakehouse Drygoods (#03035)

Designer Beads (Red) Freespirit for Westminster Fibers
Quilters Basics, Stof
White Flower on red (unidentified)
Red Dot on Cream - unidentified

Linking Up with Design Wall Monday!

Friday, 3 May 2013

April 2013 Progress - Nearly Insane Quilt, Block 96

Another block of my Nearly Insane Quilt finished.  This is another side block, which I have used to showcase the Mama Said Sew Collection by Sweetwater.  In general, the side blocks don't seem to be too complicated, and I admit I choose them when I want to have a 'quick win'.

Block 96, Nearly Insane Quilt Fabadashery
Block 96, Nearly Insane Quilt
I like the 'Mama Said Sew' fabric range because it features text relating to patchwork and quilting.  The red fabric below features names of patchwork blocks, with little pictures of some of them, like Pinwheels and Bear's Paw.  The cream one, has dictionary quotations of sewing terms, such as fabric, buttons and seam - what could be more appropriate for a quilt? ( ... and it is red and white).
Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater for Moda
Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater for Moda
Also, as it is the May Day Holiday this week I thought I would treat you all to the latest of my overall progress with this hand pieced project. 

Nearly Insane Quilt, April 2013 Fabadashery
Nearly Insane Quilt, April 2013
When I visit other blogs, they seem to have completed a whole quilt in the time it takes for me to make just a little block, but sometimes I am pleased just to be making progress!  It doesn't seem like much has moved on since last time I showed you my Nearly Insane blocks, but you will see that I have kept up with all those little cornerstones and sashings as I go along, which this month I mainly did on my journey to Nantes to see the Dear Jane Quilt Exhibition.  Now it is getting bigger, I am keen to sew some of it together, but that will have to wait until I have a few more blocks done.  The stats at the moment stand at
15 Blocks
6 Side blocks
14 Cornerstones
45 Sashes

Also, one other celebration that I forgot to share in April - Suzi the cat has been with us for one year.  When she first arrived, it didn't take her long to seek out my 'glory hole' in my sewing cupboard.  Little did we know at the time that we had such a shared interest in sewing!

Suzi the Cat checks out my 'Stash' on her arrival
Suzi the Cat checks out my 'Stash' on her arrival

SMALLEST PIECE: Triangle, 11/16" (18mm) x 1/2" (12mm) x 1/2" (12mm)
LARGEST PIECE: Rectangle 1 1/2" (32mm) x 3 1/2" (54mm) x 2 1/8" (89mm)

TECHNIQUE: English Paper Piecing (EPP)

Apple Red on Cream Sewing Guide Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater for Moda  #5490 11
The Block in Apple Red Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater for Moda  #5491-11
Cream Bias Check Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater for Moda  #5495-11
Old Glory Stars (Red) Old Glory Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings for Moda #1074-21

Joining in with my little finishes at Finish It Up Friday and our friends at Feline Friday.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Dear Jane 150th Quilt Celebrations, Nantes - Continued ...

As part of my visit to the Dear Jane celebrations in Nantes, France, I had booked myself onto a 'Dear Jane' Block workshop, to find out the different techniques that can be used to make the quilt.  There were several events arranged, including a talk about the 'Dear Jane' quilt, but with only one day at the show, I decided on the workshop. The block we made was appropriately named 'Tour de France' which is Block F-13, and we used a lovely navy spotted fabric for our sample, which is part of a range designed by Brenda Papadakis for Windham Fabrics.

Tour de France (F-13) Dear Jane Quilt
Tour de France (F-13) Dear Jane Quilt
Originally, Brenda Papadakis, who published the 'Dear Jane' book was to give the talk and run the workshop, but nearer the time she was unable to travel, due to a broken arm.  However, her 'Dear Jane' Ambassadors from all around the world attended and did an excellent job, with Caroline Van Maele (Belgium), Julie Clark (Australia) and Brenda Roumie (UAE), all keeping us on track.  It was also nice to meet some true 'Janiacs' from all around the world, including Paula, who even had her 'Dear Jane' quilt in the exhibition!  I think I was the only one who had NOT done a Dear Jane block, let alone a quilt!

Dear Jane Workshop, Nantes, France, April 2013
Dear Jane Workshop, Nantes, France, April 2013
Even in her absence, Brenda was very thoughtful, providing us all with a Dear Jane 150th Anniversary badge, a Dear Jane ruler, and a Dear Jane Bumper Sticker.  She even phoned France from the USA during the workshop to check everything was going well!  Along with all these lovely gifts, and the new techniques I have learnt, I thought I had better get the whole kit, and purchased THE BOOK, the Dear Jane rulers, and an Anniversary bag that was available at the "Pour l'Amour du Fil" (For the Love of Thread) show, in France. 
Dear Jane  Bag Ruler, Bumper sticker, pin
Dear Jane Booty
There is nothing to stop me now.  All  I need to do now is choose my colour scheme - and FINISH the Nearly Insane Quilt!