Wednesday, 19 November 2008

entirely new

i’ve recently signed up with a ‘mini-quilt’ swap group onflickr, and i am having such fun with it. i sent my first swap package off about a week ago, and now that my swap partner has received it i feel i can post pictures.
what i am most excited about is that i designed this little quilt from scratch. i’d never done that before! the patching was pretty straightforward, and nothing to get too excited about, but i think the stitcheries are a bit special.

i hope my swap partner, two cheese please, enjoys owning it as much as i enjoyed designing and making it!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

a new adventure (part 4)

i’ve been feeling a little nervous about making this particular post - it seems like such a momentous thing to me, but i know that in the grand scheme of life, the universe and whatever it’s just a small achievement….

here goes: i’ve finished my first quilt!

i feel so very accomplished and clever, because quilting is such an involved, time-consuming and many-faceted process.

you may have read about the early stages of this quilt’s gestation, because i was very keen to ramble excitedly about this new hobby, but as the process has absorbed me and i’ve found what i am feeling about quilting becoming more akin to a passion or even an obsession, i’ve found it harder to articulate just how much enjoyment i’ve been getting out of some bits of fabric and a needle and thread!

i think alicia paulson of posie gets cozy expresses that sense of satisfaction and pleasure really well when she says:

“…finishing a quilt doesn’t feel like anything else. i don’t really know how to describe it. … no matter how you slice it (literally) — it’s a big, big project. when i see really fancy quilts on the blogs or at the fabric store or at the fair, i literally stand pigeon-toed and in complete awe, because if you’ve ever finished one, you know that, well . . . they don’t make themselves.” (see the full post about her gorgeous lemoncello quilt here.)

so, would you like to see how the story ends?

i added a double border to the assembled patches, then hand quilted around every one of the 120 squares as well as once around the border. this was probably the most time consuming part of the whole process, and having the quilt over my legs has kept me cosy as i’ve whiled away many a cold and grey afternoon sewing on the couch. i even took to toting the quilt along with me in a little suitcase when i went up to my mum’s house, or over to a friend’s place, so it’s already a well travelled little thing!

here i am, in the process of hand quilting.

once i’d finished the quilting process i made a looooooong strip of binding out of fabric from the original patchworking process. i hand sewed the binding on, and voilĂ ! the quilt was complete!

my first quilt

this photo shows the backing i chose and my binding.

this has been such a wonderfully fulfilling experience. i love having big projects to really sink my teeth into, and a quilt definitely falls into that category. if you would like to make one like mine, the pattern is called rebekah amy’s quilt, and it was designed by rosalie quinlan. it was really easy to understand, straightforward to construct, and easy to modify (for example, the original pattern is for 10 x 10 squares, but i wanted mine to be bigger and it was very easy both to add two extra rows of squares, and then put a border on it). if you would like to get your hands on a copy of the pattern you can find a list of distributors on rosalie’s blog.

i suppose it won’t surprise you to hear that i’m already in the process of cutting the fabric for my next quilt - this one is going to be a present for someone special…

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

a new adventure (part 3)

i have a big scary exam coming up in less than a week, and i have been studying solidly for ages. it’s gotten to the point where i simply do not want to look at another book! unfortunately, i have to keep studying up until the exam, so i have come up with a marvelous compromise - i am re-listening to recordings of all my lectures while i sew. as a result, my quilt is coming along famously!
on saturday i finished my 100th block:

a stack of 100

then my partner and i went up to visit my mum for the afternoon. she laid a sheet out on the floor, and we all gathered around to arrange the blocks into a satisfactory configuration. it took ages (we kept having to walk away for cups of tea and slices of cake!), and everyone pitched in - even pip the cat!

pip the cat oversees construction

there were a lot of conversations along the lines of:
“see that one with the gingham edge? you’d better move that one - there’s too much red there.”
“yes, and if we move that, we can put this one in it’s place - but the gingham can’t go here either, so we’d better find a spotty one…”

rearranging the blocks

it was such a collaborative, challenging and enjoyable task, and i know that when this quilt is finished i will snuggle up under it knowing that my whole family had a hand in bringing it together. that’s precious.

Friday, 6 June 2008

a new adventure (part 2)

oh dear. i can feel an obsession developing…

i’ve managed to cut all my fabric to the pieces specified in the pattern

fabric all cut to size 

and i have begun sewing them into squares. here is my very first square (i am immeasurably proud of it!)

essies first patchwork square! 

it seems like this whole process has taken over my brain. i’d fight it, but it’s too much fun!

Saturday, 31 May 2008

a new adventure (part 1)

i’m an old fashioned girl at heart. i love antiques, period dramas, old teacups (i collect them!), anything with a history and a story. for this reason, i have been wanting to take up quilting for a very long time. it’s one of those creative practices that is so deeply steeped in tradition and history.

it’s also so wonderfully practical. there are few ideas so appealing to me as that of curling up with my honey, under a cosy quilt that i have made with my own two hands, or seeing one of my lil kitties reposing peacefully on a handmade quilt at the end of my bed. so, i have decided that i am going to have a go at it!

i’ve done some reading, i’ve gained masses of inspiration and ideas from various blogs, and i’ve bought myself a really lovely pattern. then the real fun began!

yesterday, i went to foothills fabric and threads and selected some beautiful fabric (it was so much fun, and there are so many amazingly beautiful colours and prints to choose from), and now that i have it home, i am in the process of cutting my pieces to size.

my chosen fabric, perched atop the old fashioned sewing box that my mum gave me. 

i’ll let you know how the project unfolds! in the mean time i’d love to hear about your adventures (successful or otherwise) in the realms of patchwork and quilting - just leave a comment!