The quilting challenge: Stitches in Time

Firstly, sorry it’s been so long, life has sort taken over a little with new houses and just general manic-ness!

But here I am and there is lots to catch you up on my first and second attempt at lampshade making and a challenge quilt competed for my quilting group challenge.

In October, I had the opportunity to attend another Hometown course, this time ‘luscious lampshades’. The class arrived and set about choosing their fabric, without a doubt the hardest bit! (Well maybe 2nd, I’ll come to that in a minute!)

I choose some fabric that had bright tea cups and pots all over for my sewing room, I love this fabric! Then we settled down to the task at hand. The course was just over 2 hours with tea in between 🙂 but it was plenty of time for everyone to make and finish their shades.

The finished lamp

As you can see they are all completely different and unique. So what was the hardest bit for me, well this task involves sticky tape! You can imagine what happened!

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I loved it so much, I made a second smaller lamp for my mother-in-law’s birthday, again it just shows you the endless possibilities.

Postcard lamp

So now, on to the second project I have completed since we last spoke. As you know I joined a quilting group this year and every year they set a challenge for its members. The previous winner selects the challenge criteria, which this year was ‘stitches in time’ the quilt could be no more than 25inches wide and long and needed to contain 25% recycled fabric.

Getting my creative hat on I decided that I would focus on children stories with a theme of time. Stitches in Storytime. Originally I came up with 4 panels , Alice in Wonderland, Secret Garden, Cinderella and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. (I had a little help from my friends on Facebook to come up with the list)

Then I found out we were moving house so thought I ought to stick to two panels which I might actually complete in time! So my final piece centred on The Secret Garden and The lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe. I used all fabric from previous projects and added a button embellishment to each one. I loved making it and it was my first step into something vaguely artistic!

Challenge Quilt

The group came up with lots of different ideas with some interpreting memories, others representations of time such as clocks and my friend did Operation the game with various medical stitches through time. The winner did a memory piece using her daughter’s christening gown that she wanted to preserve as it was falling apart.

It was really enjoyable and I would love to take part again next year.

Well that’s all for now, but hopefully next time I won’t leave it so long! In fact I promise I won’t.

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Birthday Quilting – Ryan Gosling on a Quilt?

I have been crazily busy, so please excuse the slowness in posting. I am carefully planning my quilts trying not to have more on the go than I can cope with, whilst trying to keep my wandering quilt mind in check!

I have been creating Birthday gifts, one conventional, designed by myself!

The other a moment of madness that had to be followed through!

I’ll start with the first one, which started with a rash and unplanned trip to the quilt shop that features so often in my blog ‘Hometown’ in Rochester. Hard to imagine in this current weather, but it was a cold Wednesday night in the run up to Christmas. My husband late night collecting parcels from the sorting office left me to my own devices in the quilt shop that was open late…. (mistake!)

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I found this gorgeous fabric, with woodland scenes, autumnal colours with birds, bears, deer and raccoon. So I then had to buy a whole host of fabric to go with! Obviously!!!

I knew who I had in mind when I saw it but no design yet… I wanted to show off the beautiful animals and so to cut it up in to small bits wouldn’t do. So I came up with a 9 block design that would have 5 showcasing the woodlands fabric.

Autumn Quilt

Laura’s Birthday is in May, plenty of time given it was only Christmas but given I am prone to start quilts, then start another, I figured it needed to be earlier rather than later!

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Fortunately I achieved my aim and Laura received her present in time for her birthday 🙂 I loved this quilt so much I almost kept it!!!

I have also been practicing my embroidery. So have finally been adding labels to my quilts. Something all quilters should do but something I am rubbish at!!

Present - Copy

At the same time I was also working on another Birthday quilt this time one destined for my friend who likes Mr Gosling!

Spoonflower, an American based company that allows crazy people like me design fabric, have a yearly staff challenge for their workers where they all create a quilt. One group put their creative minds together to create a ‘Ryan’ quilt http://blog.spoonflower.com/2013/03/2013-spoonflower-staff-quilting-challenge-pt-9-a-ryan-gosling-quilt.html

I shared this blog post on Facebook and I received lots of comments, mostly with other celebrity quilt suggestions! So in a moment of madness (one that matches our friendship!) I ordered the fabric for my friend Kirsty and got machine quilting

Ryan Quilt - Copy

This one involved a lot of machine quilting!

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To finish it off I added a label on the back, using Ryan Gosling’s meme ‘Hey Girl…’ though he has never been known to say it, Gosling fans frequently use it on posters etc! I thought it was apt to use it on the label 🙂

His recent announcement that he likes to knit, caused a stir amongst crafty ladies across the world. So deserves a mention on any creative project which involves his face!!!

Present K

I am happy to say both quilts went to happy homes 🙂 and hope that they will have years of love. Although I recognise that Kirsty’s husband may not ‘love’ the Ryan quilt as much as his wife…

Bear Paw, Stitching pains and the Great British Sewing Bee…

I’ve been a bit quiet on here of late, but that doesn’t mean sewing has been far from my thoughts!

A while ago I attended a course at Hometown, this time to learn how to free motion quilt using my sewing machine, scary stuff! Anyway this course enabled me to do a few things, firstly machine quilt obviously! and I have since machine quilted two quilts that have been lying around as UFO (Unfinished Objects) for quite a while! So now all that’s left is to bind them, so lets say they might be UFO’s for awhile longer!!

Secondly the course led to me making a new friend, who also has a passion for crafts and also like me wanted to join a local quilting group! Yup I am taking it to the next level… Hence the Bear Paw, the name of the quilting group I have joined and very exciting it is too. It is lovely to spend evenings with fellow quilters and share ideas and tips!

I hope that this will spur me on to make new things and push myself to broaden my horizons! Watch out for future post on Journal Quilts!!

Last week also attended the Knitting and Stitching Show in London, more fabric I hear you cry??? Of course!! As part of the day I took part in an embroidery lesson, it was good fun but a little frustrating trying to get the wool threaded onto a needle!! I think I must have spent 20 minutes of an hour lesson just trying to do that. But I am hoping that I can use the technique in some future work, so watch this space!

As well as the usual stalls etc there is always an exhibition of work and it is always humbling to see other peoples quilts. They were amazing and some must have been true labours of love.

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All in all it was a good day out and helped to make the fabric stash even bigger than it was!!!

Finally I need to mention something VERY exciting! You’ve seen the ‘Great British Bake Off’ on the BBC, well now the BBC are venturing into the world of sewing with a new series called ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ seeing contestants pulling together sewing projects to be crowned Queen or King Sewing Bee champion! Claudia Winkleman will be the host of the series with two industry experts on hand to judge the competitors efforts!

Exciting times!! The series starts on Tuesday 2nd April on BBC 2 so make sure you tune in!!

Well that’s all for now folks but watch this space for more projects yet to come!

My Hometown and Hometown my Local Fat Quarter Supplier!

All over the county independent shops are starting a revival; kitsch, quirky, interesting, unique and vibrant, Rochester High Street is almost entirely occupied by independent retailers. Twice a year an influx of visitors arrive from all over the world for the Dickens Festival, with the Christmas one being particularly manic!

Dickens Christmas Festival

My Hometown is also home to Hometown, the quilt shop the place where I first learnt the dark art of cutting fabric and piecing it all back together. And a name that appears all too frequently on my bank balance!! Full of bright and vibrant fabrics, the shop is a haven for local quilter and it is always busy with people stocking up on supplies, Hometown is one of my favourite places to go. It is the one shop where I am known by my name and I must admit that makes me feel part of the community.

Hometown

A frisson of excitement was greeted at the news that Hometown was on the move! After  5 years of occupying a wee space on Rochester High Street, Hometown would be moving! But breathe easy its only to a couple of doors up, to an even bigger space HURRAH!!! At the last course we all talked about what it would be like, how big the workshop space might be and obviously that there might be even more fabric!!

Last week was the grand opening, I popped down on the Saturday in desperate need of some wadding and some fabric that wasn’t quite so desperately needed 🙂 It was bright and early but the shop was already buzzing with lots of nosy quilters like me, eager to see the new digs! And we weren’t disappointed! The shop is huge with plenty of room for us to all move around without annoying each other and so light and bright!

Hometown Mark 2

Armed with my wadding and some new fabrics I really didn’t need, I chatted to fellow quilters who were equally enthralled with the new shop. Needless to say the new shop is a success and I can’t wait for the next course to see the new workshop space!!