Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Siblings Together 2015

Anyone who may have stuck with me over the last couple of years may remember that I've been involved with making quilts for a charity called Siblings Together.

The charity works to keep children in England who have been separated by the care system in contact with their Siblings by arranging, amongst other things, residential camps where the siblings can meet up and spend precious time together.

"Sibling relationships are the longest lasting in most people’s lives. Allowing these to wither for children often already deprived of parental support is a real injustice to looked after children, and is likely to result in huge costs to society from the impact on life outcomes." 
 Quote taken from the Siblings Together web site

 Two years ago after a chance meeting with the charity's director, Delma Hughes, Lynne of Lily's Quilts put a call out on social media, primarily on Flickr, for donations of quilts to be given to the children attending the camps as a snuggly keepsake of their time spent with their siblings.
The charity even has a Siblings Together Quilting Group page on their web site.

This is a copy of a letter sent from Delma to some ladies who sent quilts to the charity.

The 2015 camps will be happening in the summer and Delma stated  above that 90 children were attending the camps last year and they are hoping to increase the numbers this year. A group of us have come up with the idea of trying to get 100 quilts donated this year. There are three quilting bees on Flickr making quilts and some people are also making extra quilts. I'm sure there are individuals beavering away making quilts too.

Would anyone reading this like to help? It would be fabulous if you could.
You could help by:
  •  Donating a quilt
  • Donating one or two blocks to a group quilt
  • Offering to put together a group quilt
  • Donating some unwanted fabric for someone else to make a quilt if you have fabric but not time
  • Offering to make a quilt with donated fabric
  • Donating fabric for backing or wadding.
  • Spreading the word on social media or to quilting friends or guilds.
  • Any other way you can think of.
The link to the Flickr group is here. This is where details of quilt sizes etc. can be found and people can chat about group quilts, fabric offers etc. and post pictures of quilts too. There may be a Facebook page in the near future too.
I've just finished this quilt for Siblings Together which I made with a lovely friend.

I finished this quilt top last year and plan to get it quilted in time for this years camps.

These are group quilts I put together. The one the right was made with fabrics donated by Moda.

I hope I may have inspired someone to get involved. The quiltometer in the side bar is the brainchild of Mary and will be updated regularly.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Still here.

I can't believe it's been five months since I last posted here so I thought it about time I gave anyone who might be interested an update about what I've been up to sewing wise. There isn't a large amount of stuff to show but I'll do it over a few posts. 
First off is a wall hanging I made for my parents for Christmas.
As inspiration I used a Craftsy Class called "Magical Blocks: Out of the Box" by Kimberly Einmo. The sampler quilt made in the class is a large bed size quilt but I made mine wall hanging size using my own layout with the original as inspiration.

I forgot to take photos before I gave it away and then forgot to take my camera when I visited at the weekend so these are rather poor phone photos.

The picture below shows more details of the quilting. I quilted different patterns in different areas of the quilt. It turned out fairly well but there's always room for improvement.

I have more to show when I get round to taking pictures of it. Here's hoping for some dry weather at the weekend and for a willing quilt holder to be available.
Bye for now, Maria.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Off to the State Fair.

It's time for a quick visit to the State Fair, although I do live in the wrong country.

I've been enjoying deciding which fabrics to use for the State Fair flowers. It's been fun doing some fussy cutting for them.

The fabrics used for the flowers above and for the top left flower in the first picture are by Nel Whatmore from her Secret Garden range.  
Here's how the flowers look with the chain blocks.

 I'm loving how different the quilt is looking to the original which you can see in my last post.

I think I've got ten more of each block to go. All good fun.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Modernising tradition.

Recently I've been thinking about how we decide which quilts we make. For those quilters who read blogs and use Instagram and/or Flickr the choice is often swayed by what patterns/blocks are being promoted by pattern writers, magazines and book authors. It seems to me that many, and of course not all, of these designs which are hailed as being new and the "designer's" original work, are actually based on traditional designs which have been around for years.

Elizabeth from Occassionalpiece-Quilt has written a very interesting post about where quilters find their inspiration, she discusses the book "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon who states that "Nothing is original".

I was given this book a few years ago, it features quilts made between 1825 and the 1940's and includes quilts made from log cabin, stars, triangles including  flying geese, English paper piecing and more, all of which are techniques that are being used in today's patterns.

This Double Flying Geese quilt from the book was made circa 1875 but looks like it could have been made yesterday. It reminds me of a Roman tile floor.

This Drunkards Path quilt was made between 1910-1920, to me it also has a very modern aesthetic.

 I bought this book, Down the Rotary Road by Judy Hopkins,when I first started quilting in the 1990's.

Some of the quilts in this book also look they could have been made today, some 20yrs after the book was published.

I  went back to the book thinking I would find patterns different to those around today, however I found that most of the quilts are based on traditional blocks, just as many of the designs around today.
 As Kleon says "nothing is new"! 
  Elizabeth states that Kleon encourages us to note where our influences come from but to me this rarely happens and as I mentioned earlier so many patterns in books, magazines and online which are proclaimed as being new are not.  It is however a positive that the craft is being kept alive and that the old traditional blocks are still being used.

I decided to go back to  Down the Rotary Road  for my next quilt and thought it would be fun to pick a design which doesn't immediately appeal to me, probably due to the fabrics not being to my 2014 taste. Many of the quilts in the book, perhaps unlike the two above, are made from fabrics which would not appeal to most quilters today. I thought it would be interesting to see how different the quilt would look in completely different "modern" fabrics.
The quilt I chose was this one called "State Fair"

It consists of State Fair blocks alternated with chain  blocks.
Here's how my 2014 version is going so far. In the book the centre of the flower is an applied circle but I decided to make life easier and use a pieced snow ball block instead.

I find it fascinating how a quilt design can look so different when made from different fabrics.

Edit: After a comment on this post saying how clever I was to eliminate the appliqued circle I should point out it wasn't my idea, I found the idea here when researching State Fair blocks. After accusing other people of proclaiming old traditional patterns as their own designs perhaps I should practice what I preach!!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Spiral Strips Quilt.

I'm so pleased to have finished this quilt at long last, it's been in the making since January 2012. The design is  "Spiral Strips" from Jelly Roll Quilts: The perfect guide to making the most of the latest strip rolls, by Pam and Nicky Lintott. The fabric is Heirloom by Joel Dewberry. The Jelly roll consisted of fewer strips than that used in the book so I had to add some of my own fabrics.

 I did lines and lines of straight line quilting which seemed like they were never going to end. There were loads of ends to bury as there were numerous starts and stops as rather than just sew end to end I started from the middle square and quilted each quadrant individually.

As you can see I quilted a flower in the centre square but it was quite a struggle with all those seams so it was the first and last of the squares to get a flower.

 The back is also a Joel Dewberry design but I can't remember what it's called. I love the binding which is Bike Path by Alison Glass, I bought it a while ago with no particular purpose in mind and was thrilled that it went so well with this quilt.

I'm glad you can't see me whilst I was writing this post as there has been a lot of shouting and cheering as  the English men have just beaten the Aussies to the Gold medal in the swimming relay in the Commonwealth Games!! Well done to the women too who won the silver medal.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Summer Garden quilt.

Many years ago, not long after I started quilting, I made my Mum and Dad a small wall hanging. It now looks rather tired and dated so I thought it was time I made them a new one.
 I used the quilt "Garden Party" from the book " Making Quilts"  by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession as inspiration and scaled down the size dramatically.   The original quilt is made up of a background representing the sky, the green bushy level and murky garden-bed layer.
For my background I used a colour wash method which was popular around the time I started quilting.

 I quilted the background with wavy lines using an aurifil  50 weight thread in light grey. I then applied flowers made from Dresden plates.

I had fun making the flowers with my new wedge rule, I can see more Dresdens in my future. I also enjoyed fussy cutting the fabrics.

This flower was machine applied, I left the points loose to add some texture.

It was a fun quilt to make and I quite fancy making a larger one at some point........after I've finished some other projects first of course.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Strip quilt detail.

Last time I said I would show in detail, the wonderful quilt top my strip bee friends made. After a year on the road it has returned home having been transformed into a beautiful quilt top.

I started with the row of wonky houses and then sent it off on its journey.
The first stop was with Fran who added a row of sweet little trees. I'm pleased that the houses look out onto a beautiful wooded area.

Next stop was with Jen who made a row of beautiful butterflies to flutter over the roof tops.
Jen designed the pattern herself. The wings are paper pieced and the sky made using a template.

Amy was the next to work her magic. Another talented lady who also used her own design, a row of beautiful roses for the neighbourhood.

The street is a very happy place, so, during its stay on the island of Jersey Sarah added a row of hearts. As Sarah put it, she included "a little bit of love shining down on the street".

Every street needs some kitty cat residents, the ones here even ride bicycles. They must be very posh cats as they come from Liberty no less!

Finally it was Julie's turn.She paper pieced some perfect little birds to fly over head, they even have their own house too, but as Julie pointed out she thinks the opening may be a bit too small for them to fly into!

I couldn't be more pleased with my new quilt top. Thanks so much to Fran, Jen, Amy, Sarah and Julie for all the hard work they put into it. It's been such a fun swap and I'm so glad you all agreed to join.

It's now up to me to finish it. I'm planning on hand quilting but must admit I'm rather nervous about sewing into their beautiful work, I think I'll start with my row.......
 Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Needle and Thread Thursday, links to both of these in side bar.