At last I can share my finished Christmas Tree Skirt! My lovely ladies in my morning class have been busy as bees on their tree skirts ( to be revealed next week hopefully!) and I just had to join in with them.
I bought a gorgeous charm pack of French General Favourites from the fantastic Eclectic Maker. I made them into half square triangles to show off all the gorgeous fabrics and colours. I added half a yard of more French General for the borders and a Fat Quarter for the binding.
To construct my borders and achieve the Octagon shape I used this wonderful, quick tutorial by the fun Missouri Quilt Co, ( I love Jenny's Santa hat hehe!).
Me being me, I had to hand quilt this! I really wanted it to look mega traditional so I added hand quilted grid squares to the half square triangle area and feathers to the border. In the centre is a kind of wreath thingy. I used Aurifil 28wt for hand quilting to achieve that kind of fine, traditional look. For the feathers I used a loved Aurifil red which helped me achieve the smaller stitches needed to achieve the feathers.
I love it so much and can't wait to get our tree sorted now and get it around the bottom!
Pictures to follow when it goes up! (Sunday according to Emma - who is desperate to start decorating it!) .
Life got a little bit more exciting for me this week. I had my first quilt published in a magazine. Quilt Now to be precise.
I could not believe it when Katy said yes to my idea to make this quilt. I honestly didn't think I would have a chance of having anything published in such a great magazine.
If you had told me those seven and a half years ago, when I picked up my first Moda charm pack and began hand sewing (I had no idea it was called hand piecing) those squares together, that this would happen I would have said , "no way!".
I didn't have a sewing machine and was literally just winging it along until I discovered this amazing online community full of advice, tutorials, you tube lessons and of course, friends.
You see, without the encouragement of my blog friends, IG friends, Flickr groups, and bee buddies made over the years, I would never have had the confidence to share my work.
I remember setting up my Etsy shop for the first time, and thinking to myself, this will be successful if I sell one item. I haven't been an Etsy sensation but I have sold quilts to lovely customers in Australia and the U.S as well as the UK. I have had commissions also. I literally couldn't believe it when people wanted to buy my work!
Etsy has fallen by the wayside over the last year I must admit. But in my relatively short span of quilting I have seen many changes. The blogosphere is still very much alive and kicking, but just adapting and evolving as it always has done. (Very Kerry Berry wrote an excellent piece on this and also money within the quilting industry - have a read if you haven't already).
I set my Etsy shop up knowing full well I would never make a living from it, but people had been saying increasingly that I should sell what I made. So I thought what the heck, if it pays for my hobby then why not? It has certainly helped do this.
When I first began quilting the only magazine I could ever find was British Patchwork & Quilting. Now look what we have available in the U.K specifically!
Just launched fabric lines are reaching us here in the UK much more quickly than than they used to.
There is an abundance of fantastic on line shops and bricks and mortar quilting shops appear to be growing.
So with all these changes I have grown as a quilter and opportunities to share our work have grown too.
Lets face it, Quilting and patchwork is one expensive hobby. The price of designer cotton yardage is not cheap. By the time you factor in your wadding, backing and thread you have usually spent a fair bit when making a large quilt. Not to mention the cost of equipment when starting out too!
But we get there piece by piece and because we passionately love what we do and we make quilts because we have to. Personally, I have found that with that comes an increasing desire to share my knowledge.
My teaching journey began quite by accident really. Thinking aloud on facebook about maybe setting up a quilting class locally, Maggie said would you teach in my shop and here I am a year and a bit later still teaching two great groups of women.
Again I shall never be rich or be able to make a full time salary from any of this, but that isn't the point.
I now HAVE to sew. It is exceptionally good for my mental health. I want to share those benefits with others and if I can fund my creativity along the way then why not. We all have mouths to feed and bills to pay after all. (and fabric to buy!).
However, quilting will always be far, far more than a means to an end financially for me.
It is about love and creativity.
We love the people we make gift quilts for.
Let's face it, we love the fabric.
We love the people who share our passion and at times, craziness over quilting.
We love when inspiration strikes and we just have to make that block or design or quilt or sometimes, (in my case) mess!
Quilters are artists who use fabric and thread instead of paint to express themselves. Artists share their work often because they are trying to say something.
With each quilt we make, as many have discussed before, ( Thomas Knauer especially), every quilt tells a story.
You may not be consciously trying to say something with your quilt, but subconsciously they speak volumes.
I hand quilted the magazine quilt deliberately to say something of the love each of us invests into a quilt. Literally ( cheesy as it sounds) stitched with love.
Some might say all that hand quilting was a, gasp! "waste of time" and I say fair point. However, the relaxation it brought to me is something I gained from hand quilting such a large quilt. When I hand quilt I feel even more connected with the past and the way men and women used to have to work.
I remember Katy saying she was using it as "comfort" quilt because it is so soft and snuggly with all the hand quilting when she was a bit harassed with deadlines.
So even a quilt like that, made for no one in particular can tell a story.
Never underestimate the power of the Quilt!
(sorry for the epic post but I just had to get all that out of my system! ;) )
So just what have I been doing this past week? Well life is pretty busy as usual but I have managed to get some sewing done.
I have been hand quilting feathers onto my French General Christmas tree skirt. I am using a red Aurifil for hand quilting these and am aiming for a traditional look. I just love how it is looking!
I also finally got Catherine's Bee blocks done for her month in charge of Bee a Brit Stingy. Some bright and dark log cabins which were fun to make!
Part of the reason I haven't managed what I would like is because of this.........
This is our new washing machine. Our old one of 7 years finally gave up and groaned it's way into retirement. It had been repaired several times over the last year and we weren't spending anymore money on it! So catching up on washing has been fun but at least I now have a nice, tidy laundry area!
Last Wednesday one of my patchwork students showed me her beautiful version of the Flower Garden section of my Full Bloom wall hanging.
Isn't it brill? I love her background fabric and stem fabric and she loved the needle turn applique I taught them!
Here is a reminder of my original hanging.
Join me on Sunday when I link up with Molli Sparkles to share what is new in my stash! Hoping it brightens up a bit for some half decent photos!
My sewjo returned! Thankfully! I made this cute little Dresden plate as part of an experiment. I wanted to see how small I could comfortably go. I love all the blades on this. I then made a very simple pouch and used a fab zipper tutorial by Kelly which worked a treat! I now want to make all the things into little zippy pouches! ( I am not the most confident with zips but this tutorial made me feel a whole lot better about them).
This pouch is literally all I have made though. As my time has been taken up by everyday life and chaos.
The kids needed their costumes for all the various Halloween social events they attended. So Emma chose a ladybird and Jacob reluctantly chose a "Mad Scientist". He took the fake glasses off when he got to school though! Boo Hiss!
The roof has decided to spring a tiny leak and the washing machine has been literally groaning on a spin so I fear the time has come to replace it :( You know that way it all happens at once??? Well this is my time for that!
I am trying to deal with these things rationally and remember these are just first world problems really. I am thankful for a roof over my head, a cosy bed to sleep in and food in my cupboards. Plus two happy, healthy children.
Happy Monday everyone! I know Monday sucks but at least it was lighter this morning. That made getting out of bed a little ( just a bit) easier.
Ever lost your sewjo? I have many a time but lately it is more of my sewjo doesn't know what she wants to be doing.
I flit from hand quilting to standing staring at my cutting mat and then putting it all away! (is it just me?). I just can't seem to pin (lol) myself down on anything at the moment. My classes are great for keeping me focused but when it comes to outwith that I draw a blank just now.
I have ideas floating around but that is all at the moment. I keep telling myself that it is all part of the creative process and things will formulate and become concrete soon. I am just impatient!
So at the moment I have been swapping between these two hand quilting projects. The red French General favourites fabrics are for a Christmas Tree Skirt. My kids keep laughing at me when I tell them what is for as they can't imagine a tree wearing a skirt just now but soon they will see!
I am using an Aurifil 28wt thread to hand quilt this. My aim to achieve an heirloom, vintage look so I am going for fine hand quilting and traditional designs.
I have also been working on my Hipbees quilt. The lovely ladies from this bee made a block or two each from my chosen fabrics in my chosen block ( off centre log cabin - tutorial on my blog) and I added sashing. With this I am using navy Perle cotton and three strands of Aurifloss for the logs. This is so different to the Tree Skirt and much more of a contemporary look.
I have also been doodling feathers. I am planning on adding hand quilted feathers to the red border on the tree skirt. I love feathers whether machine or hand quilted and they are fun to practise drawing too! I don't have a feather stencil so I will need to work out how to get them onto the fabric for quilting - any ideas other than just free handing it???? !!
Feel free to share about your creative funks and what you do to get your mojo rising (hehe) again! #keeping it real
Hello! Today I am linking up with the Sunday Stash hosted by Molli Sparkles.
This is my first time linking up so please be gentle with me! I have had a little bit of a fabric drought lately. So I splurged last week and purchased these gorgeous Anna Maria Horner prints, Tula Pink vintage stars and Alison Glass fabric. The colours are so delicious together and I am planning on getting some of the blues in the Anna Maria Horner prints ( the middle three).
One of the things I love about quilting is that it is OK to not stick to one particular style or colour. I have heard quilters talk about developing their own style and just by looking at a quilt, you would know it is by them. Well that isn't for me. I love the sheer variety of fabrics, enjoy some batiks(yes honestly), and have always been attracted to making things according to my mood. So one day I may be in a pink, girly mood (rarely) and the next I may want to go very traditional and homely.
The French General (Moda) print below is for a Christmas(shhh) tree skirt for my home. It has been a while since I have made something just for us. I wanted it to be traditional and found this gorgeous red Aurifloss to go perfectly for hand quilting this project.