Tuesday, 21 April 2015

cool colours, calm improv

I'm in love with this quilt, it seems to be very calm and soothing. It's not my usual colourway of choice, but I'm finding it very pleasing. Duck Egg blue seems to have that effect on me.

I made this up as a sample for a recent show I attended, it's improv, as you can see and I didn't labour too much over the placement of the prints and solids. Once you let go and just cut and sew, cut and sew, you begin to see your work in a slightly less 'control freak' sort of way, or at least this is how it works for me.

I used four colours of Kona cotton and a selection of my stone and duck egg blue prints. I cut the solids into strips and the prints into chunky rectangles and a few strips. I marked out on the floor (no fancy design wall here) roughly the size I wanted the quilt to be so I had somewhere to lay out my pieces after I had stitched them together. 

I then roughly laid out my blocks, of varying shape and size to create a strip which was the full width of the quilt. I joined up the blocks, adding and trimming as necessary, until I had a full width pieced together.
I repeated this process until I had enough strips for the full quilt and then joined all the strips together.

The back has a one off printed panel positioned slightly off centre. I printed this in stone and duck egg blue with the different designs overlapping and creating interesting patterns.

This is a cot sized quilt, 115cm x 125cm. At some point soon I'm hoping to take custom orders on these. 

I have a red one planned next, I'll keep you posted and I may even remember to take some progress shots!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Improv Quilting

At the last London Modern Quilt Guild meeting Shevvy talked to us about Improv Quilting. When quilting this is how I like to work, I like to make things up as I go along, swap and change things around and be led by the fabric and colours rather than make several identical blocks. I like to have movement within a quilt, to have different piecing throughout and I love the appearance of a random layout, though this actually takes a lot of thought and playing around.

I'm working on this Improv Quilt at the moment, I used only red, bright pink and white fabrics and tried to keep it simple and random. It just needs binding so hopefully I'll be able to show it to you soon.

The quilters that inspire me the most are the ones that have their own style and put together quilts in an original and interesting way. Ashley at Film In The Fridge is one of my favourite quilters, her quilts are all so different and she has a wonderful way of using colour and creating interesting designs with fabric.

This one, Cascading Pools has a wonderful balance of colour and neutral spaces. Have a look at her blog, you'll be inspired.

Lu Summers is another inspiration when it comes to improv quilts, her book Quilt Improv is packed with blocks, tips and inspiration to get you started. Remember this one? It's one of my favourite quilts.

I've put together a mosaic of some Improv quilts that are inspiring. I think I'm going to have to try some improv curves, these ones look so good!

Click on the links to see who made these -

1. Assembly, 2. Improv. Blocks, 3. improv curve mini quilt, 4. wool improv quilt, 5. Keeping Eden, 6. add a border plus plus, 7. "Up Down" Quilt with Facing Finish - Detail, 8. Improv / free form quilt block number 5, 9. Quiet improv quilt

Shevvy talked about how some of her Improv quilts have grown from the desire to use up her scraps, tiny as many of them are. Shevvy pieces them together, sometimes chops them up again, mixes them with solids and plays around with colour and design until she's got a quilt she's happy with, there are many examples on her Flickr page. I got a bundle of her tiny triangle scraps at the last meeting and my challenge was to make a block with them.

This is what I came up with, I tried not to overthink it and just added a few rectangles to these tiny triangles that were mostly pieced together. I'm not mad about the finished block, it's too busy for my taste, but I absolutely loved the process and trying something new. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015


I've started the year pretty well with sewing projects, January is always a productive month for me. I love the fresh start, the quieter pace post Christmas, the ease of getting back into routine after a few weeks of crazy.

I started with some dressmaking, for me. It has been a long time goal of mine to sew myself a vintage inspired wardrobe, and I'm getting there, but it is painfully slow. So to have made two items in the first week of a new year has pleased me immensely. 

First was the boatneck top, from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I'll be making more of these as it's quick, easy and looks pretty elegant for everyday wear. I'll make a few adjustments on the next one, but overall I love this.

I've had this floral fabric for ages, I bought it with a full skirted fifties dress in mind, (I still have enough fabric and may well make a dress too) This gathered dirndl skirt is super easy to make, it's basically two rectangles of fabric (front and back) and a waistband, there is a tutorial over on Gerties blog here. I used the full width of the fabric, 142cm for both the front and back and I love the fullness it gives. Roll on summer, I can't wait to wear this.

I got this new old pattern too, I'll need to adjust it I should imagine but I'm looking forward to getting started on this. View C  was the most popular over on Instagram and it's my favourite too so I'm on the hunt for the perfect fabric for it. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Voyage Quilt

Before I dashed off on summer adventures with the family I finished this quilt, 'Voyage'.

I'm super thrilled with this one, the coloured panels are handprinted with my designs and the background fabric is Eclectic Elements, 'Documentaion' by Tim Holtz, a wonderful print of old receipts, travel documents, tickets etc 

I added curved corners to the coloured rectangles, I love the softness it brings to the design, these was easier to sew than I had expected too.

The quilting is mostly straight(ish) lines by machine. I couldn't resist doing a few extra lines by hand with perle thread, using colours to compliment the rectangles. If I had more time I would hand quilt all my quilts, it adds such great depth to the finish.

I had a deadline looming though (always the way), I made this quilt as my contribution to the London Modern Quilt Guild's stand at the Festival Of Quilts this August. 

It was so exciting to see it there, alongside so many inspiring quilts. It was a wonderful opportunity to have a really good look at fellow members quilts too, there was such diversity within our stand.

I am filled with enthusiasm and lots of ideas for new quilts, though I am reminding myself that I still haven't finished the two quilts I started for my girls last September. One of them is three quarters quilted, the other still to be basted... and Winter is coming. I am going to have to hold back and crack on with these before I start something new, or at least that is the plan. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Michael Miller Challenge

I've finished two, yes two quilts in the last week! Nothing like deadlines to get me moving. 

This one is the Michael Miller Modern Quilt Guild challenge. We were given the printed fabric and you can make anything, as long as it's quilted. 

I have been playing with curves lately and thought it would be fun to see if I could insert the printed fabric into a hole in the solid grey. Turns out I could, and I like this a lot, so I expect you'll see more that are very similar soon(ish).

I love the simplicity of this, though I probably could have been more adventurous with the quilting. I find deciding how to quilt something the hardest part.

So this has been my creative space lately, lots of finishing. It feels good!