30 November 2012

Easy Street Mystery Clue 2

Bonnie has posted clue 2 of the Easy Street Mystery, you can find it HERE.
After a quick tidy up and a long walk with the dog I set to. This week we are to make 128 flying geese units; Bonnie uses the companion angle ruler, which I am sure makes them quickly and easily - but I don't have this ruler, so I made mine the traditional way. I thought it would be a good idea to do a short tutorial on this method here. I hope you find it useful.

Making flying geese the traditional way is easy as long as you cut and stitch accurately! They are made in batches of four, so that the outside edges of the finished unit will be on the straight of grain not on the bias. There is very little waste with this method - another plus!

To make four flying geese units, you need one square for the goose that is 1 1/4" larger than the finished width required, cut twice diagonally and four squares for the wings that are 7/8" larger than the finished height required, cut once diagonally - still with me?!

There is no squaring up or trimming with this method, I recommend you make one set of four first, to double check your cutting accuracy and your 1/4" seam; once you are happy go ahead and make the other 124!

Using Clue 2 as the example, we need to make 128 flying geese units that have a finished size of 3" x 1 1/2. Bonnie has purple fabric for her geese and black/white fabric for the wings, my colours are red and cream.

From your Purple (Red) Goose fabrics, you will need to cut 32 squares measuring 4 1/4" (3" + 1 1/4")
cross cut these twice diagonally to give 128  quarter square triangles.

From your Black/White (Cream) wing fabrics, you will need to cut 128 squares measuring 2 3/8" (1 1/2" + 7/8") cross cut these once diagonally to give 256 half square triangles.

I like to trim the dog ears before I sew, but you don't have to.

I usually chain piece in batches of about 20-30 at a time; add the right-hand wing to the goose first and carefully press the seam allowance towards the lighter wing, these triangles have bias edges so be very careful not to distort these out of shape with the iron - Press don't iron!

Then add the left hand wings, again press carefully towards the lighter wing triangle.

Double check your measurements! If you have cut/sewn accurately these flying geese units will measure 3 1/2" x 2" unfinished (they will finish at 3" x 1 1/2" once they are sewn into the quilt top)
Note how the tip/point of the goose is 1/4" away from the bottom edge, this matters if you don't want to chop off the points when you join these up!

I like to pin mine in sets of 10, it helps with the counting!

Keep them labelled and safe with the four patches from clue one, until Bonnie tells us what to do with them!

29 November 2012

SDW Sampler Week 5

I have completed page four of this wonderful sampler, I am enjoying every stitch and love the colours, although I woefully underestimated how long it would take to stitch this flower pot!

27 November 2012

Dear Jane

Over the last 14 years I have made several blocks using patterns from the Dear Jane (Jane Stickle) quilt book by Brenda Papadakis, some using civil war reproduction fabrics were made into a lap quilt...

While others were made into small projects and given as gifts, or have remained in a box until I decide what to do with them ....

But I have always intended to make the whole quilt one day, a few weeks ago I bought some lovely antique ivory coloured background fabric, and using fabrics from my stash I have started agian. I really enjoy making these small blocks, they are addictive! 

Maybe one day, perhaps when I am 46 as Jane was, I will complete this beautiful quilt. I still have a couple of years left!

Russian Sunflowers

I like to have a take along project on the go at all times, something that can be easily picked up to work on when I visit quilting friends. My current project is a lap quilt made of Russian Sunflower blocks; quilt blocks often have lots of different names, this block is also known as Sunburst among others. I am hand piecing these and have chosen fabrics for the blocks and backgrounds but will wait until all the blocks are pieced before choosing sashing and borders. I only work on this project an hour or two a week when I am out of the house, it is amazing how it all adds up!

26 November 2012

The Welsh Quilt

I was luck enough to be able to attend the 2010 Quilt exhibition at the V & A in London, I fell in love with the beautiful hand quilting on this Welsh quilt from their collection.

The original quilt was made between 1800 - 1850 and measures a whopping 235cm x 207cm, you can read what little is known about it on the V & A website HERE

I came home and spent a lot of time trying to draft a pattern so I could make my own smaller version, mine measures 150cm x 168cm.

The fabrics are mainly reproductions and all came from my stash including the backing. I am using a Hobbs Wool wadding which is a dream to hand quilt. I wanted to replicate the look of the beautiful Welsh wholecloth quilts on the back, so I chose a plain fabric. Part of what makes a quilt 'Welsh' is the fabulous designs they use for quilting, I struggled to see the quilting on the original and so made up my own stencils, using some of my British quilt reference books and the internet. I am really happy with how this is progressing and will pull this out to work on in the evenings now it is turning cooler.

Confession Time!

I have a very short attention span and get bored with projects quickly! I am easily enabled and will have to live until I am at least 500 to make everything on my to do list! I like to quilt, embroider and knit. 

A few years ago I went through a period when all I seemed to do was to start new projects, nothing ever got finished! I ended up feeling guilty and unsatisfied, this is meant to be fun!

We have moved internationally every couple of years for the last 15 years and have finally settled for good (I hope!) in the south of England; before I left my last post I finished lots of projects and donated even more! 

For the first time I have also given myself permission to not feel guilty if a project remains unfinished - sometimes I start things to learn a new technique or find I am not happy with the colours I chose or something else about it once it is started. If I no longer enjoy working on a project, I let it hibernate for a while, if I like it when it re-emerges then I will finish it, if not then I will put unused parts back in my stash or donate it to someone who does love it! 

I am determined to keep my current WIP list manageable! I like to work on different things depending on my mood, or how much time I have, or whether I want to sit with the family or work in my sewing room. I try to stick to one or two projects in each of the different disciplines. I will list my active projects on here and share progress on them in the hope that it will motivate me to stick to the list!

Current active WIP's:

Hand quilting - The Welsh Quilt
Applique - Chester County Criswell Quilt & Friends of Baltimore
Hand Piecing - Dear Jane
Quilt Group Visiting project - Russian Sunflowers
Embroidery - SDW Sampler SAL
Knitting - Cowl
Machine Project - Grandmother's Choice & Easy Street Mystery

25 November 2012

Grandmother's Choice BOW

Barbara Brackman is hosting a quilt block of the week on the theme of women's suffrage.  The blocks along with some interesting history, can be found on the Grandmother's Choice blog HERE. This week's block is 'Everybody's Favourite:Universal Suffrage'.

I have chosen to make my blocks in the colours adopted by the British Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) which were Purple, White & Green, representing Dignity, Purity & Hope.

The WSPU was the leading militant organisation campaigning for women's suffrage in the UK. It was founded by Emmeline & Christabel Pankhurst and was the first whose members were known as suffragettes.

I have been reading the biographies of the Pankhursts along with some of the history surrounding the women's campaign for equal rights in the UK.

I have 11 blocks completed so far, I don't know how many I will make, probably just enough for a lap quilt, I am also still undecided on the final layout. I will wait until I have a few more made and then decide.

24 November 2012

Easy Street Mystery Clue 1

I love Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts! Bonnie very generously provides a pattern and instructions for a free mystery quilt every year, a new clue is posted on fridays between Thanksgiving and New Year.  No one except Bonnie knows the final design, but you can be sure there will be lots of small pieces and lots of different fabrics! It is a great way to use up left overs and to make a small :) dent in your stash!

Most of the quilts I make are long term or very long term projects! I love hand piecing, hand applique and hand quilting, but every so often I like to use my machine. The mystery quilts are great, there is no agonising over which fabric goes where, all you have to do is follow the detailed instructions in each clue. You can be confident that if you like the fabrics when they are sitting in the basket, you are going to love them when they are in the finished quilt!

Clue number one was posted yesterday, so this afternoon, I cut and sewed, and cut and sewed and sewed some more...

Chain piecing is very therapeutic and makes short work of piecing!

Before long I had 192  3" four patches! well actually I have 195 and a half!  I got a little bit carried away...

I like to pin them in sets of 10, and put them in a zip lock bag, with a label before I forget what they are for!

I am linking this to Bonnie's Blog link up:

Scarlet Letter SDW Sampler Progress

I am currently stitching this wonderful Scarlet Letter Sampler with a group of ladies, organised by Nicola of Stitching by a Cornish Sea-Shore.  This is an epic sampler and I am not sure I would have achieved so much if it were not for the support of my stitching friends! We motivate and encourage each other and share weekly progress pictures.

Linen is 36 count Edinburgh in colour Flax, with the recommended AVAS threads, it is difficult to see from the photo how lovely and vibrant these colours are.

This week I have finished the top band, apart from the blackwork section (I am still not sure if I will change it or not) and have scrolled on to the next band, I did intend to finish the left hand flower this week, but I am still waiting for one skien of silk to arrive.

Nicola will celebrate a special birthday next year and has dedicated 2013 to the year of the Scarlet Letter sampler, you can read about this special project on her blog HERE  join in all the fun at the dedicated Scarlet Letter Year Blog HERE

23 November 2012

Easy Street Mystery

Part one of the Quiltville 2012 mystery project 'Easy Street' has been posted by Bonnie Hunter, you can find the introduction HERE and the first clue HERE

I have my fabrics washed and ready to go, now I am off to start cutting!

I did post on my previous blog about the process I went through before I came up with these fabric choices you can read it HERE if you are interested!

I am off to cut fabric and sew!
Well here I am on Blogger!
I had huge problems with commenting and formatting on my old blog (www.rellus.com/Emily) so with the considerable help of Nicola - Thank you! I will start again here.

Emily is the sewing machine that I inherited from my great grandmother Margaret Lavender, she is not at all valuable but I am very attached to her and she still sews a beautiful straight stitch!
She was manufactured by Singer in Kilbowie, Scotland between Jan & Jun 1901.

We moved to our current home last August and spent a considerable amount of time renovating it! The estate agent who showed us around enthusiastically pointed out the study that I now use as a sewing room, it is a very small room just off the dinning room, more of a large cupboard really! This is where Emily lives, hence the blog name Emily's Cupboard.

While the renovations were being carried out, I spent a lot of time with catalogues from the Holding Company and Ikea, trying to fit as much storage as possible into the room. I am happy with my space and spend a lot of time in here with the company of the radio or audio books.

There is even room for a friend to visit!