28 June 2013

Hand Piecing with Freezer Paper Templates

The first part of 'Love Entwined' has now been published, we are to start in the centre with a Mariner's Compass. I have chosen to hand piece my centre using Freezer Paper templates. I thought it might be useful to show my method for preparing the pieces here.

The first step is to print or trace the pattern pieces onto Freezer Paper, I like the Jenkin sheets, as they are a little more robust than the Reynold's brand and feed through the printer easily.
Cut out the pattern pieces on the solid line - i.e. without seam allowance.
Then select the fabrics you wish to use.

Iron the FP template to the wrong side of the chosen fabric.
Draw around the shape (I like to use a mechanical pencil) and cut out, adding a 1/4" seam allowance as you cut. The drawn line, is your sewing line; it makes it easy to match the seams and helps with accurate piecing.
I then pin all my cut pieces wrong side up on a fabric covered board. This helps to keep everything in the correct place; as you piece sections together, lay them back in the correct position on the board.
My 'board' is actually an old 12" square ruler that I dropped! I glued it back together and covered it in wadding and fabric, with felt on one side - it is really useful to keep pieces in the correct order when hand piecing.

21 June 2013

A Grand Day Out :)

I am just back from the National Quilt Championships, held at Sandown Race Course, this is my local quilt show, it is about a 1/2 hr drive and is actual the only one I go to! I find the large shows totally overwhelming, Sandown still feels lovely and intimate. We started by looking at all the fabulous quilts, I took lots of photos, but don't have permission to share; I can show you my Heron quilt hanging as part of 'The River' exhibition, by our group Thameside Quilters. It was nice to see it hanging there with all the others, as I don't enter shows or competitions.
After lunch it was time for some retail therapy! Want to see what I bought?
This beautiful book by Petra Prins published by Quiltmania
And of course some fabrics, I have decided on a colour scheme of duck egg green/blue with a splash of red for 'Love Entwined' I saw this new range 'La Belle Fleur' by French General online and thought it might work with what I have already - it is even more stunning in real life. I bought 2.5m of this one.
and long quarters of these from the same range
These are French fabrics from my local shop Creative Quilting (the owner is French) from the  Mas d'Ousvan  'Boutis' range by Bruno Lamy for Couleur Nature, lovely silky cotton.
and these two FQ's are linen, to make a bag/pouch for my new iPad
There were a lot of beautiful books and fabrics on offer, it is so easy to get carried away :) I was really focused and stuck to my plan of looking for suitable fabrics for LE. The book was an added bonus!

18 June 2013

Floral Inspiration

I have spent most of my free time this week working in the garden, everything is starting to flower and I finally feel like summer is on it's way. I did manage to take some time out to go to my monday embroidery class, I am really enjoying it, especially working with all the wonderful threads. This is my progress for the last two weeks, there will be a gold work spider at the end of the dangling thread :)
This week Sophie showed me some basic silk ribbon stitches.
I have planted lots of old English Roses in my garden, the smell is incredible, this silk one will be a nice reminder when they are over.
Wouldn't this clematis also make a wonderful embroidery? I plan to try and add a couple in variegated silk ribbon to the bottom of my heart next week.

13 June 2013

Changing my mind...

While waiting for Esther to publish the first part of the new 'Love Entwined' BOM and the fabric requirements, I decided to have a look in my stash to see what else I might have that I could use :) The postman has also just delivered this fabulous new book by the V & A...
look at these wonderful colours on the front cover, wouldn't they make a great quilt? I had a rummage and found some lovely pinks/reds...
spring greens, Hmmm maybe these are a little too washed out...
and some lemon for sparkle :)
I love how they play nicely together in this basket...
I also found a small piece and some scraps of Dutch chintz...
I will probably change my mind again by the time the first part is posted, but sometimes it is just fun to play with fabric! The nice thing about only having a black and white photo of the original is that it gets me away from trying to match the fabrics.
I am off to try out the linen I am thinking of using for the background - I only bought 50cm, it creases and frays like mad (still need to iron this piece!) I will need to cut larger pieces and overcast before use, but it has a lovely drape to it and will make a lovely fresh looking coverlet with these colours.

11 June 2013

Jane Austen and a Georgian Coverlet

Lat September my husband and I visited Chawton and the home of Jane Austen.
 I have wanted to visit and see her coverlet in person since I first heard about it several years ago, the colours are still vibrant after all these years.
Little is known about it, the only reference being a letter  in May 1811 from Jane to Cassandra in which she asks "have you remembered to collect pieces for the Patchwork? -- we are now at a standstill."
The quilt features several beautiful chintz fabrics, most of the colours have of course faded, but the small diamond border is still very vibrant, it must have been very colourful when new.

Several years ago Makower produced a fabric range based on this quilt, I bought several yards of the diamond print, which is very similar to the original.
I even have a collection of chintz and other fabrics waiting in a basket to start this quilt.
I think the reason that I am not keen to replicate it, is that I have the attention span of a gnat! I don't really want to fussy cut and sew hundreds of diamonds :) I get bored making the same thing over and over.... So when I saw Esther's post about a fabulous free 18 month BOM she is starting this month, my mind started to whir...
Esther has painstakingly drawn the pattern from a black and white photo in the book Patchwork by Avril Colby from the 1950's (this is a wonderful book, I was luck enough to find a very cheap second hand copy last year, it mentions Jane's coverlet too!)
It is described as 'A fine linen marriage coverlet with appliqué patterns of early wood-block cotton prints in red, pink, rose, blue and white patterns on dark grounds of purple, madder brown or black. c.1790' No one knows where the quilt is now - it is not in the British Quilt Museum or the V & A. The photo was included in the book with the permission of a Mrs Erith of Dedham.
This is much more my kind of quilt! I know it is earlier in date than Jane's coverlet but I have decided to join Esther on this journey and to pay homage to Jane by using the fabrics I had collected to reproduce her coverlet, I may even have enough to make both :)

Full details of the 'Love Entwined' project can be found on Esther's blog HERE

06 June 2013

Creative Embroidery

I had so much fun in the embroidery class on Monday run by Sophie Long, you can see her beautiful work on her website HERE She did throw me by saying we had to design our own piece! After a lot of head scratching, consultation with her and my fellow stitchers, and a fair bit of rubbing out! I came up with a design for a heart with a few silk ribbon flowers, based on these in the latest 'Inspirations magazine.
I will also incorporate some free style embroidery stitches in different threads and a little gold work - all of which Sophie has promised to teach me by the end of the six week course :) I started by couching down a beautiful chenille thread around part of the heart outline.
I bought the linen and threads above from Sophie to start off, she then suggested I check what I had in my stash and bring everything I think could work next week; after asserting that as I am quite new to embroidery, I thought I might have a little DMC but not much else, I am embarrassed to admit that my stash hunt produced the following...
The wool is left over from a needlepoint project, perle cottons are left overs from Hand quilting projects and the beads/DMC left overs from my cross stitching. A card making friend was downsizing her stash and I bought a job lot of threads from her, lovely rayons and metallics. The great thing about free style embroidery is that you can use it all - in the same project!!!
I think I have enough to be going on with! Roll on Monday :)

03 June 2013

Remember This ...

It is the class project from the beginners Silk Shading class I took - I blogged about it HERE
Inspired by this pattern in the newest edition of 'Inspirations' magazine
I decided to use it, to turn this...
into this...
not bad for a first attempt, I used some scraps of cotton wadding, but I think if I do this again the wadding needs to be thinner. I am happy to find a use for the embroidery rather than leaving it in a drawer!
I have signed up for a six week creative embroidery course starting this afternoon, hopefully this will soon be filled with lots of lovely ideas and inspiration :D