Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sew-a-row sesion 2 - July

This month we made Delectable Mountains and Drunkard's path - sounds like a session of quilting sin! Both blocks were deceptively easy, and eveyone got on well with these two rows.

Here are Janis, Rosemary and Margaret beavering away. Betty and Rachel were sharing a machine and getting on very quickly with their mountains.The blocks were a little challenging to assemble at first, but Pauline soon got into the swing of things. The Drunkard's Path blocks were shown to be very versatile. Rachel's are arranged into a Jockey Cap arrangement.Pauline was able to put hers in this design, which would have been ideal to expand into a full sized quilt instaed of a row.

Janis liked this arrangement - perfect for a row of blocks.There was a lot of playing going on, and Betty found this fabulous pattern! Again, it's too big for our purposes, but just shows the possibilities with such a simple starting block.

The next session in September will be to make a foundation pieced block - Dancing Squares,and a block using templates, Laced Star. then only two more rows and we're done!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

May workshop - Sew-a-row 1

For the next few sessions, we will be making a sew-a-row quilt. This is a kind of sampler quilt, but instead of making individual blocks, we will be making rows of the same blocks, then joining them together to make a quilt. The advantage of a sew-a-row is that you get practice in making the same block (and practice makes perfect!) and since you only make 8 or 10 different blocks, it grows faster and is completed more quickly too!

Here is one I made earlier, to give you an idea of what it might look like. Our sew-a-row will have some blocks the same, and some different. The first row we will make will be Seminole. This technique comes from the Seminole Indians in America, who liked to decorate their clothing with coloured bands of geometric shapes.

This was very time-consuming work, but with the invention of the sewing machine in 1856, they quickly realised that with a bit of lateral thinking they could make all those diamonds and triangles very easily. We will make two bands of Seminole, in the same or different colours.

The next block will be one designed by Anita Grossman Solomon. She too like simple things, and her method for making an arrowhead block is a doddle. All you need is a couple of 8" squares and a post-it for each block.

These have been made from the same two fabrics, but you could make each one from a different fabric if you want to (I certainly do!).

The blocks are all decided, but the problem we all face, is chosing colour. Here are the easiest ways to result in a lovely quilt.

1. Buy a co-ordinated pack of fabric. Fabric designers are professional colour experts, so don't scorn their advice.

2. If the idea of taking somebody else's ideas wholesale just doesn't appeal, why not find a piece of patterned fabric which you love, and choose colours from that! If you keep the proportions of the different colours roughly the same, you'll be sure of a winner. This fabric has purply pink, sage green, light green, black, cream and ochre.
Take a piece along when brousing in your stash or shopping and match the colours!

3. Make a monochromatic quilt. Choose just one colour, eg. blue, and use dark, medium and light shades of the colour (perhaps with white or cream as a neutral) and the quilt will be stunning. Think of reds - scarlet, vermillion, burgundy, rose, pillar box, spotted, striped, flowered, checked -and white or cream; what a sumptuous quilt that would be!

4. Use a colour wheel to find analogous colours. Analogous colours sit next to each other on the colour wheel, and always play nicely together. My quilt used autumnal colours, of green, yellowgreen, yellow, orange, red and brown (which is actually dark orange) and looks great. Blue, bluegreen, green and yellow would look good too. Any set of analogous colours (plus white or cream) would go together well.

5. Use the colour wheel to find complimentary colours. Complimentary colours sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. The best example is the Christmas colours of red and green - always a winner! Other fool-proof examples are blue and orange or violet and yellow.

Always make sure you have a mixture of dark, medium and light values and you'll be sure of a good result.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Log cabin

All the requirements for the log cabin workshop on 12th March at North Kilworth Village Hall are on the previous post (scroll down to the bottom of the post). However, if you would like some inspiration, follow this link to Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilts blog, where this post is all about log cabin! She has several photos of log cabin quilts, in various settings - lots of eye-candy! Have a look and you'll definitely be inspired!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Bag workshop

The bag workshop was a perfect antidote to the January blues, and the weather (though cold and miserable) behaved itself! We tried a new venue of the United Reformed Church in Lutterworth, and while it was lovely and warm and well-equipped, it just wasn't big enough for us all to sew, cut and iron. I hadn't realised that piecing was such a physical process! I'll try and return to North Kilworth if the hall is available.

Rosemary and Paula were well organised and equipped, and kept the chatting to a minimum!

Chris, Margaret and Jane beavered away!
Jane was the first to finish, and her Australian fabrics were fabulous.
Rosie looks a little bemused here - perhaps this was because this was her first experience of patchwork, and it was a steep learning curve for her! However, as you can see, she went away with a finished bag, so well done! Everyone worked really hard, and most people got their bag together (if not completely finished) in the day.

Here are Liz, Alison, Jane and Betty showing their completed bags at Piecemakers a few days later. (Betty didn't make two bags in the day, the green one is her daughter's!) The next workshop in March will be log cabin.

This 19th century one is in the collection of the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, and shows the effects this simple technique can achieve. The whole design relies on the placement of dark/medium fabrics against light fabrics, round a central square. Traditionally the central square is red (to represent the fire in a log cabin) or yellow (to represent the lamp) but you can choose any colour suitable to your design. You will need centre squares which measure 1½” square and strips of light and dark/medium which are 1½” wide. If you want to cut the strips ready for each block you will need dark/mediums 1½”x 2½”, 1½”x 3½”, 1½”x 4½”, 1½”x 5½”, 1½”x 6½” and 1½”x 7½”. Lights will be 1½x 1½”, 1½”x 2½”, 1½”x 3½”, 1½”x 4½”, 1½”x 5½” and 1½”x 6½”. Each block will measure 7½” (7” finished). If you want to cut the small strips from lighter tones and the longer from darker this will enhance the overall effect.

If you would like to join this workshop, there are still places, so either email me or comment on this post and I'll add you to the list.