Archives for posts with tag: quilting

So, after the quilt I made for my brother-in-law using his old shirts, I went to work on several baby quilts.  This one is for a friend’s baby girl, who was one of the only girl babies to be born to the many friends of mine who have had babies this year.  It was so much fun making a girly quilt.

Baby quilt

Baby quilt

For the plain squares I used two designs by Anna Maria Horner which I had bought a while ago and was saving for something fun.  The eight other squares were made mostly with scraps that were left over from a workshop at the V&A, which I helped to organize.  I love that I didn’t buy any new fabric to make this quilt!

Baby quilt detail

Baby quilt detail

This was the first time I’d tried diagonal quilting – in all my previous quilts I’ve always stitched in the ditch.  I loved the effect and have used it in subsequent work, and it’s made me think about different ways I can quilt projects in the future.  I’ve officially graduated from trying to hide my quilt stitching!  It’s much more fun to let it show.

Baby quilt detail.

Baby quilt detail.

Advertisements
Brother-in-law's quilt, top side.

Brother-in-law's quilt, top side.

It’s been ages since I last posted (and by the way, I did finish my script for Script Frenzy), but I haven’t been lazy.  I’ve made several quilts in the last few months, one large and a few small.  And now that I have joined the Committee of the London Quilters as their new Secretary, I better get cracking and show those quilts off!

The first one is one I made for my brother-in-law to put in his new house, which he bought in February.  Since I thoroughly enjoyed making my first quilt out of my husband’s old shirts, I decided to do the same for my brother-in-law and upcycle the shirts he didn’t use any more.  I asked my mother-in-law to secretly send me all of the old shirts he was about to send to the bin, and I cut them up and made a huge quilt out of them – with different designs on the top and the bottom.  Luckily, he wears a lot of blue – so everything matched. The little bits of brown are from a pair of trousers (my husband’s, not my brother-in-law’s).  I can’t say for certain that every single piece of fabric came from one of his shirts, but they were either worn by him or by his dad or my husband, so it’s all in the family.

Brother-in-law's quilt, bottom side.

Brother-in-law's quilt, bottom side.

The quilt was made as a surprise and it certainly was.  I was really pleased with the reaction from my brother-in-law – he really appreciated it.  I was less pleased with the two days of neck pain that I had after frantically quilting for 9 hours the night before I gave the quilt to him.  Our kitchen table was no match for the weight and bulk of a king-size quilt.  I hadn’t realized how much of the weight I was managing with my neck and shoulders while putting the quilt through the machine.  It sure took me out of action for a couple of days!  Next time I make a quilt this big I’ll have to think about how to save my muscles and not overload them.  It was worth it, though.

Brother-in-law's quilt - front detail.

Brother-in-law's quilt - front detail.

Lizzy House e-book

Lizzy House e-book

Earlier this week I was reading the fabulous True Up blog and saw that fabric designer Lizzy House had released a new e-book called ‘How to Enter the World of Textile Design: For the Quilting Industry’ ($25 US).  I nearly choked on my baked potato (yes, reading blogs while eating lunch – again!).  This is exactly the kind of book I’ve been looking for.  In January I  made a plan to start designing fabrics this year, and while I’m still at the beginning stages, I know that eventually I’ll be trying to design a fabric line that gets taken up by a manufacturer.

I immediately sent myself a reminder email to buy the e-book as soon as I got home… but after about 10 minutes of trying to do work and still thinking about the book, I decided to buy it right away.  Transaction went well, download not so great, thanks to my work computer not having enough memory for anything bigger than 10MB (the e-book is about 275MB, so it takes a while to download and needs a lot of space free).  Extremely frustrated by the piddly amount of memory on my work computer, I emailed Lizzy herself to see whether I could still download it onto a different computer (my own, much more trusty laptop – yeah, the one with six keys that don’t work but which still has never caused me a minute’s trouble with available memory).  Lizzy replied very quickly and assured me that she’d guide me through downloading the e-book at home if I couldn’t do it with the link I’d saved.  As it happened, the link did work and I  managed to download the e-book right away when I got home (after what seemed like an interminable afternoon waiting to get home) – but thanks, Lizzy, for being so willing to help!

The book was everything I’d hoped it would be.  First of all, it looks beautiful – some great photos, lovely colour combinations and nice design – but of course, the content is what’s most important and it really was exactly what it said in the title.  Lizzy gives an account of her own experiences breaking into the textile design market, and then some very clear guidelines about how to put together a fabric collection.  ‘Anatomy of a collection’ was the most useful section for me personally, because I haven’t gotten as far as getting ready to present a collection (another really useful section), but I know that as I continue experimenting with design, I’ll have those points in mind so I know what to work towards.   I was pleased to see that a lot of things I’ve noticed about fabric collections but never really taken the time to analyze fully (especially in the Colour section) were confirmed for me in the e-book – it’s as if Lizzy has written them all down and made very clear.  My only small niggle was a few typos/correctable mistakes.

All in all, though, it’s a winner.  I was so engrossed in my reading that I nearly finished the book in one evening – until I was told very sternly, for about the fifth time, to go to bed!

I’d highly recommend this e-book to anyone who’s interested in knowing how the quilting industry works, and who is planning on submitting their designs to manufacturers.  There’s no design instruction – it’s assumed that you’ve already gotten familiar with that part yourself, which is clear and obvious from the title.  There are plenty of great books about design.  This one’s about the industry, and I’m really glad that someone wrote it, because I don’t think this information is readily available.

I’m really looking forward to referring to Lizzy’s book over and over again.  I’ll certainly be looking at fabric collections with a new eye from now on.  Especially the 200 metres’ worth of fabrics we’ll be using for the V&A’s Patchwork Social, which I’m in the middle of planning right now!  (YES!  I figure that since Sue Prichard has mentioned it in her blog, I’m allowed to talk about it on mine now… sometimes I think I have the best job in the world.  More about the Patchwork Social in a future post.)

Sashiko hot water bottle cover

Sashiko hot water bottle cover

This hot water bottle was one of my husband’s Christmas presents.  I made the cover from some felted wool given to me by a colleague, and embellished it with some sashiko embroidery – my first try at this beautiful Japanese stitching technique.  I chose a pattern that symbolizes prosperity, both because of the meaning and because I liked the look of the stitch.  It was also one of the less complicated patterns!

I got inspired to make the hot water bottle cover by TeresaDownUnder’s Stipple Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover tutorial on her blog, Patchwork, which I first found through the wonderful Sew, Mama, Sew! blog.  I didn’t do the stipple quilting but I did follow her instructions for making the pieces.

Back of hot water bottle

I used the button off an old jacket for a closure

For a lining I cut up an old pillowcase and drew the pattern onto it as a guide.  I added a layer of quilt batting in the middle, so with the felted wool I ended up with quite a padded hot water bottle cover.  Luckily, the heat still comes through and it’s just the right warmth to have in the bottom of the bed.  Because the layers were so padded, I did the sashiko stitching only through the top surface of the felted wool layer.

I loved working with the sashiko needle – it was much firmer than a regular embroidery needle, so I could guide the fabric onto it rather than guiding it through the fabric.  I did a lot of the stitching on a very bouncy train journey, and it still turned out pretty evenly!

I’m going to use sashiko again in future projects.  The look of the patterns and the action of the embroidery is very meditative and relaxing.  I love the traditional look of the white/ivory thread on a dark background, but I think I may also experiment with lots of colours to see what can happen.

Ceramic cup by James and Tilla Waters

Ceramic cup by James and Tilla Waters

I went to Origin – the London Craft Fair at Somerset House yesterday, for the second time in as many weeks.  I knew as soon as I stepped in the door on October 9th that I’d want to come back for the second round of artisans, so I bought the special two-visit ticket, and I’m glad I did.  Yesterday’s visit was every bit as good as the first.  I brought my sister this time and she enjoyed it too.

Walking into a space filled with beautiful work of every description made me feel giddy for the first few minutes; after half an hour I felt glutted with loveliness.  It’s actually quite difficult to look at so much beauty all at once.  My usual method is to walk round the space quickly, making a mental note about what I’d like to go back and look at more thoroughly.  Then I go around again, spending more time touching things and talking with the artisans.  My sister and I both admired a gorgeous hand-woven hemp shawl by Tazuko Saitoh and talked to Eloise Grey about her wonderfully tactile organic Scottish tweed coats.

I came away with some goodies for other people and a cup by James and Tilla Waters for myself.  Its minimalist gray and red design is perfect for calm weekend mornings.

I also got an advance copy of Ruth Singer‘s new book, Sew It Up – a modern manual of practical and decorative sewing techniques.  I’m really looking forward to working with some of the quilting techniques!  The book is published on 30 October.