26 October 2014

Stonefields Month Two - Part One

I have stitched a few more hexagon flowers...
and the first of this month's appliqué blocks...

the others are prepared but will have to wait a while. I am off to Scotland tomorrow to visit family; I have prepared a few more hexagons just in case there is time to stitch :)

24 October 2014

Libby's Grand Illusion

Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville has announced the fabric requirements for this year's mystery quilt 'Grand Illusion' you can find all the details on her blog HERE Bonnie very generously runs a free mystery each year, with the first clue released on the Friday after American Thanksgiving and then weekly until New Year. I have made several over the years, they are great fun to make and always feature lots of small pieces and lots of different fabrics :)

This year I am making the quilt for my son's girlfriend, I always try to make these mystery quilts entirely from my stash, which is a challenge sometimes in itself! Libby and I spent a lovely hour sorting through my fabrics and choosing colours she liked and that I had enough of! This is what we came up with...
Our one 'constant' fabric is a lovely Jane Austen print from Makower, it is several years old; I am looking forward to finally using it!
I have made a colour key as we have deviated from Bonnie's chosen colours and I know that I will never remember which is which otherwise!

In addition to the lovely aqua fabric above we are using pinks, yellow, blue, chocolate brown and ivory/cream. The lovely thing about these scrappy quilts is that you can use the smallest pieces and if you run out, you just substitute a similar fabric. Everything is washed and pressed and waiting in the basket for the first clue.
I know I won't keep up with the pace of the mystery as Stonefields is my focus project for this winter, but I will plod along piecing when I have time, luckily Libby is happy to wait :)

21 October 2014

A Productive Few Days

Over the last few days I  have sewn four blocks for my 1718 Coverlet, I think I am ready to try a curved block next!
a few more flowers for Stonefields
and embroidered some flowers for my Cottage Garden
Month two of Stonefields has just arrived so I am off to prep some more appliqué blocks.

16 October 2014

1718 Silk Coverlet - Mosaic Patchwork

I have long admired the 1718 silk coverlet (it is not a quilt as it has no wadding/batting) held by the Quilters Guild in the Quilt Museum in York, it is one of the earliest known examples of patchwork. You can read the history of it on the website HERE.
Susan Briscoe has written a book about it which has just been published, so of course I had to buy a copy :)
It is full of detailed photos of the original coverlet
A photo of the replica made in silk, by members of the Quilters Guild here in the UK a few years ago
It also has close up photos and patterns to recreate each block
I have been looking for an excuse to try some of the fabulous Oakshott shot cotton fabrics, and this seemed the perfect project - they have an incredible range of colours and look like silk but are in fact 100% cotton, they also come in 54" wide pieces which makes them very good value.
It is my birthday next month so I decided to treat myself to any early present!
They were washed as recommended and have been sat looking at me all week, along with a couple of pieces of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton (I have to say the Oakshott feels a much better quality)
The original coverlet was made in a technique know as 'Mosaic Patchwork' which I had heard of, but had no idea what it was, until I read Susan's explanation that it is also known as English Paper Piecing. Cue sound of penny dropping! I know how to do that, I've made loads of hexagons! I have decided to try and recreate this coverlet using the original method and hopefully improve my EPP along the way. I have never tried EPP curves before, but how hard can it be?!! I decided to start with a couple of the easier blocks.
I want to keep up with Stonefields BOM and so this will just be a filler project.

10 October 2014

Stonefields the First Blocks

I have completed the first set of appliqué blocks for my Stonefields quilt.
I am really glad I remade the corner star blocks, I much prefer the softer background and paler grey/blues
I have stitched the first of many hexagon flowers
and prepared a whole lot more
These should keep me busy for a while!

06 October 2014

Filling the Garden with Flowers

We are now more than halfway through this term's embroidery class and things are progressing well with my cottage garden embroidery.
The ugly fir tree that really stands in front of my garden has been transformed into a cherry blossom :)
I have started to embroider the flowers, some of which do exist in real life (maybe just not in these colours!)
I even found room for Jasper, in his usual tongue hanging out pose!

05 October 2014

Block of the Month Kits

I have had lots of comments since my last post, both on the blog and personally, about my decision to change out a lot of the fabrics I am using for my version of Stonefields. I didn't realise this was such a hot topic! I feel I didn't make myself clear on my reasons for change.

I am participating in a BOM run by Karen at The Running Chicken Quilt Co I was a little late to the party (as usual!) my package for month one, arrived a few days before I was due to attend Susan's workshop and see the original quilt. I am VERY happy with the kit supplied by Karen, I love the fabrics she chose, exactly the kind of thing I like to have in my stash. I love the instructions supplied, the acrylic templates and the pre-cut paper pieces; all of which came beautifully packaged and organised in a sturdy cardboard storage box.
I have participated in a number of BOM programs over the years and in my opinion this is one of the best I have received. However do you remember a few years ago when everyone was making a DJ quilt in civil war fabrics? I joined a BOM and started with great enthusiasm, half way through finished versions starting appearing in blogland (I was behind as usual!) they all looked the SAME. I decided then that I really didn't want a quilt that looked like everyone else's, so I took the blocks I had made, added some solid squares and finished it as a lap quilt.
I really like this quilt! The unused fabrics went into my stash - I have just used one of them in my Stonefields quilt :)

Following the workshop with Susan, I started sorting through all the photos I took of the original Stonefields quilt. One of the reasons I was drawn to it is that it has a very soft look, largely achieved by the use of a very pale cream background. It also uses a lot of French General fabrics which I happen to love and have a fair collection of! a lot of the fabrics are several years old.

Once I had thought about it for a while, I knew that I would not be happy unless my version also had a paler background. I also want to use lots of my scraps in this quilt, I would like to have 200-300 different fabrics as the original does. I have a large overflowing scrap basket that I would like to get down!
I have a nice collection of French and French General fabrics collected over a few years

These fabrics will give me the look I am after for this quilt (I don't know what fabrics I will receive each month, it is possible they will be very similar to these) I will continue to mix the BOM fabrics in with my own selection and scraps, but most importantly I want to feel that a quilt of this much work has some of my personality and taste in it! I like sorting through my stash and finding the perfect fabric to use in each block - it's part of what makes quilting fun for me :)

My intention to deviate from the BOM was in no way intended as a criticism of the program or the fabrics supplied, I am sorry if some people felt that it was.

I am off to prepare some more hexagons!

04 October 2014

Starting over...

I received the first month of the 'Stonefields' BOM before I had seen the original. I loved 99% of the fabrics included in the package from Karen, but wasn't sure about the beige background fabric. I also did not like my machine piecing on the stars.
After seeing the original, I decided that the beige was too dark for my taste, I also think a couple of my star fabrics are too bold. I decided to leave the two pomegranate blocks as they are, I really like the blue floral background, but to remake the rest.
I have a bolt of a beautiful pale ivory floral tone on tone that was bought on sale about 5 years ago and has been waiting for the perfect project every since :) The beige fabric won't be wasted, I will save each months allocation, and use it in a version of Dear Hannah that I have been planning for years with rich country colours.
I am glad I redid these blocks, I like them much better now
I have the also decide to hand piece the stars, I think this is a quilt that deserves the time spent on it.
This afternoon I cut and prepped the last three blocks ready to appliqué
I have cut some of the flying geese pieces as I use each fabric
I have also started preparing the hexagons for the border, I don't want to have to do them all at the end! My BOM comes with pre cut papers, glue basting goes fast! I was worried I would lose some of these small hexagons or forget which I intend to go with which! so I have threaded them onto some sewing thread to keep them all together, I also made myself a window template so I can do some fussy cutting. I am off to visit my family in Aberdeen at the end of the month, these will be perfect to take along with me.
It is cold and wet here today, I have a beef stew in the slow cooker for dinner and DH is about to light the fire, I think I will settle down with my workbasket and stitch :)