05/02/2016 § 7 Comments
For a baby girl, born on 23 January 2016 and named Isla …
The quilt was commissioned by her grandparents and tells a story. With Balinese fabric included as her parents first met whilst on holiday in Bali, little houses as Daddy is an architect, I Love London because that’s where the family live and where little Isla was born and the bumble bees – well that’s another story but they’re a significant choice for her quilt!
It’s a quilt that will grow with her – perfect for her first bed.
and this morning, it looked a treat hanging up for a photoshoot on the new ‘design wall’ in my studio…
Have a good weekend everyone
I’m linking up with and popping over to Finish it up Friday to see what everyone else has been creating too!
24/02/2015 § 6 Comments
A new quilt commission always fills me with excitement and this quilt was a long time in the planning. The brief was for ” … a patchwork quilt and 2 large matching cushions … with a French/Parisian theme to cover an antique French day bed … pastel shades – pinks, blues and greens … fabrics containing images of handbags, shoes, Eiffel Tower or anything associated with France/Paris”.
I gathered together fabrics …
Then I went about my happy cutting out, creating and planning, piecing and stitched, layering up and quilting followed by a couple of evenings hand-stitching all around the binding edge of the quilt – oh how I love that bit!
I’m so pleased with how it turned out – it’s a complete froth of pastel shades working together around the strong Paris print in double-size patches. There was a lot of diagonal quilting to dissect the 4″ squares but it was worth it. The quilt is backed with pure white fleece and is lightly wadded so it will wash and dry easily. My client has had quilts from me before including one for her little girl which she assured me is still ‘going strong’ after 2 years of being snuggled beneath and played with every day. I’m also delighted to say that she was thrilled with her new quilt. Phew – it’s always a relief when someone sees their quilt for the first time and loves it. There are lots of stories about quilt commissions if you follow the link on the left of your screen – so many quilts!!!
Now – pink candlesticks …
As ever, I’m very bad at taking ‘before’ photos because I’m always in such a rush to get stuck into a project. A pair of brass candlesticks from I-know-not-where have been huddled in the corner of the patio for at least 2 years. They were behind a very large flower pot! I gave them a wash down and then treated myself to a spray can of Candy Pink paint! Here they are on the newly laid out Spring mantlepiece in the lounge …
Enjoy your week.
08/09/2014 § 5 Comments
We’re enjoying an amazing Indian summer here, in the south of England at the moment. Today, I took my trusty little old Elna sewing machine outside and stitched in the garden so that I could enjoy the warmth of the sun whilst piecing a pretty pink patchwork quilt top.
Time for one of my latest quilts to have it’s ~Ta Dah~ moment – SIESTA TIME! I took this vibrant summer quilt out on location last week, to take some photos by the coast and in a pretty Victorian cottage …
I found a photo of a summer quilt made by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew. She called it Summer Slice Quilt and provided a fab tutorial here. I rarely follow a pattern or tutorial for my quilts, but couldn’t resist having a go at this one. As ever, I backed mine with lightweight pure white polar fleece, added my trademark white border and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Just as Allison said, it looks fiendishly difficult but once you crack the pattern code, it sews up easily.
Siesta Quilt will be for sale at the Saturday Makers’ Market in Alton. I loved playing with those vibrant delicious pinks, luscious lime greens and beautiful blues – teaming ditsy florals and bold patterns – definitely a summer slice of colour, to snuggle under during the march through Autumn towards our Winter days.
Lots more quilting on my horizon for this week, and a catch-up post of quilts I finished in August. What are you up to at the start of the Autumn term?
28/08/2014 § 2 Comments
A few weeks ago I found a tailor’s shop selling bolt end rolls of shirting fabric. I couldn’t believe my luck. Amazing shirt fabrics – mens and womens – top quality cotton. YAY!!!! I went back a few times over the course of a fortnight and emerged from the shadows at the back of the shop, into the sunshine, weighed down with bags of fabric.
Not the best photo – apologies. I don’t know when I’ve found such soft cottons. I used the blue (bottom), the shirt stripe (3rd up) and the check (4th up) in Coast Quilt , teaming them up with flashes of turquoise and orange.
I’ve been meaning to make a quilt using lots of a solid colour and venturing into half square triangles (HST’s) for a while and Horizon seemed an appropriate name for the blues with flashes of red in this quilt. It’s a double bed quilt, measuring 1.5 m x 1.4 m, quilted diagonally 1/4″ from the diagonal lines and then horizontally, creating rhomboid shapes and finished with a soft red binding – that’s almost 6 metres of tiny hand-stitches all around the binding edge! It took hours and hours.
So many other fabrics had to join in the fun, for both Coast and Horizon. I’m constantly amazed how many different fabrics it takes to create a quilt. I reckon I spend more time choosing the fabrics than piecing the tops (well, it seems that way)! I raided my oh-so-special stash of Liberty prints for this quilt too.
Now, I have a bit of a dilemma. Should I take Horizon to market before the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, starting in November? I’m building up a stock of quilts, cushions etc as I’ll be at the market every day for 2 weeks, from 20 November. Plans are taking shape for the layout of my log cabin and I’m sorting out packaging and labelling. Excitement, excitement when my quilt labels arrived from Moo …
I have a single tiny round hole punch and have attached ribbons so that every quilt will have a pretty label, with the quilt name, dimensions and price pinned on. The spare room is full of boxes (for quilts and pincushions) and yet more carrier bags will be arriving any day now. I’m really enjoying having a focus for my creating. There just aren’t enough hours in the day – I’m busier than I ever was when I taught full-time!
Enjoy the rest of your week – I’m taking an hour off from quilting to make some Beetroot Soup. I made some earlier in the week and it was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. I’ll share my recipe later on – I’ll write it down this time, instead of just throwing stuff into a pot!
Take the quilt to market? Save the quilt for the Christmas Market? That’s the question – what would you do?
PS Use this discount code http://www.moo.com/share/gf9njf if you’re thinking of ordering cards/tags etc from Moo – 10% off I think.
13/07/2014 § Leave a comment
If you happened to enquire about a sports-themed quilt in Alton on Saturday, and left your email address, I’ve been unable to contact you via email so thought I’d leave a note here so you can make contact with me.
My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are a few of the fabrics that I’ve found that might be suitable for your grandson:
Alton was wonderful, as ever yesterday. For those of you who may not be local, Alton is a bright, vibrant market town in Hampshire with many independent stores. Weekly markets are held on Tuesdays but once a month, on the 2nd Saturday to be precise, the top of the High Street is closed to allow the Farmers’ Market to come to town. So many amazing stalls with cakes and preserves, pies and quiches, butchers and bakers and plantsmen (and women) lining the streets under their colourful stripy canopies.
On the same day as the Farmers’ Markets, the Alton Lions organise the Craft and Makers Market, providing gazebos for those without their own, though many of us roll up with the whole cha bang – gazebo, bunting, tables and stands and of course, our stock. It’s a long day for me and hard work setting up and taking down but yesterday the sun was shining and the crowds were out. I met some wonderful people to chat to as well as friendly fellow stall-holders. It’s a great starter market for ‘proper’ makers (Carole is very strict about everything on the stall having been ‘made’ – absolutely no bought in goods allowed). If you’re a maker in Hampshire or thereabouts and would like to dip your toe into the pond of selling direct to your customers, then why not give it a go. There’s a website and application form here.
In the meantime, if you’re the lady who enquired about a sports-themed quilt for your grandson, then do get in touch as I can’t contact you. Or if you’re not ‘that’ lady but would like to commission a quilt, then pop an email into my inbox and I’ll be happy to discuss a bespoke quilt for you. I’ll be closing my book for commissions in mid-September this year, to allow myself time to build up my stock for the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market. Yes – I’m planning it already and will need lots of stock as I have a stall in the prestigious British Crafts Village section of the market by the ice-rink. Can’t wait!
Enjoy your week – I’m off to cut out some more quilts!
11/07/2014 § Leave a comment
22/02/2014 § 2 Comments
for a lovely lady.
Late last Autumn, I met a lovely lady who stopped at my market stall in Alton, for a chat in the sunshine. She admired my quilts, and asked if I could make a quilt especially for her. She went away to think about what she’d like to take back to her home in South Africa. When we met again a month or so later, ‘D’ asked if I could make her a quilt in subtle, neutral colours and white with possibly a few focus patches. I said I’d do some research too and send her some photos of possible fabrics.
We experimented with some colour combinations incorporating subtle aquas, taupes, beige and soft pinks. However, D had a colour scheme in her mind’s eye and it was my job to translate it into fabric. Quickly we ditched the colours, and then met up and went fabric shopping together, deciding to work with large square patches to fit over a double bed.
D had an idea that she may like some honey tones, a script fabric and stripes. We rummaged together through remnant tubs and found some beautiful textured floral fabrics that she loved. The darker script worked well, the stripes were awesome but somehow those honey patches and a darker floral didn’t fit in- so out they came!
A further hunt – now going solo – I discovered a beautiful gingham that I thought would be just perfect.
We’d agreed on a wide white border all around and it always amazes me (even after making over 100 quilts), the transformation that occurs between rough patches and a finished quilt with borders, puffy quilting and smart hand-stitched binding …
My special moments from this commission:
- chatting away in the Autumn sunshine, in beautiful Alton
- meeting up in Winchester, with a bag full of fabrics, a cup of coffee and doing a spot of fabric shopping
- discovering a beautiful fabric that worked well in reverse (light flowers on a dark background, then flipped over, dark flowers on a light background) – brilliant fabric
- working together to make those fabrics work so well together – a real team effort
- deciding on the name – something to remind D of her time in England, to symbolise an English summer
- a Ta-Dah moment at the beginning of December – one I’ll always remember
06/11/2013 § Leave a comment
isn’t that a lovely name for a quilt?
Some weeks ago, I received an enquiry for a commission. It sounded like a perfect project for me – a red and white quilt. Commissions are always exciting – and a bit scary! I want to – (must) – create something that I love. I’ll spend hours and hours designing, planning, cutting, stitching, quilting – and the finished article has to be perfect. Here’s a journey through the different stages of creating a bespoke quilt.
When accepting a commission, I need to get inside somebody else’s head to create something that they’ll love too. They’ll have a vision, a colour-scheme, personal likes (and dislikes), a history and traditions that will transform, through my hands, into a very personal heirloom. It’s a lot of responsibility.
I usually start with a colour-scheme and send off a swatch of possible fabrics …
Some will be discarded, new ideas will emerge and then I’ll work with some specific fabrics and cut out some patches …
Quickly, I discarded the pale green, here, it was washing out other more vibrant colours and had to go! After more discussions, I retreated to my studio and began to work – and work I did! This was a mega king-size quilt with 2 matching pillowcases. I don’t share photos from this point on, with my clients. From now until the final binding stitch, the quilt is all mine, the creative process indescribable, but here are some of the stages, in photos (for another quilt, called Summer Days).
3rd draft involves taking photos, a final re-arrangement to balance the colours and focus patches. Then I pile up the patches, in rows, ready for stitching. I work fast and uninterrupted. Daydream Believer was too large for a single session so I divided the quilt up into smaller, more manageable sectors for this stage and pieced them all together once they were completed.
It’s not in draft any more – now it’s a piece of patchwork!
5th stage involves a lot of pressing, with the iron, tweaking and checking. Then, with a plain border added, a sandwich is made – backing fabric (my preferred fabric is fleece), wadding (I like light-weight wadding that’s easy to wash), then much smoothing when the top patchwork layer is added. It’s a bit like icing an enormous cake – smoothing takes ages – but not as long as the pinning!
Stage 7 – it can take me well over an hour to pin a quilt together. I don’t tack with stitches as I find the fabric layers stay together much better with tight pinning. It’s important to allow a good few extra inches of backing and wadding, all around the edge of the quilt as it will move, most probably, when quilted.
Then, the fun begins – what’s this – 8th stage? The quilting will totally transform the 3 layers of pinned materials into one. Quilting patterns are endless sources of creativity but somehow, I love the simplicity of diagonal lines dissecting perfect squares. It really ‘does it’ for me! Quilting also takes hours and hours – sometimes days!
Now we have a patchwork quilt, with messy edges but NO – DON’T take the scissors to those edges yet! A binding must be added first. Bindings are important. They’ll frame the whole quilt. I sometimes have a quilt laid out for days, with different strips of possible bindings draped across it. I nip into my sewing studio to catch it in unexpected moments – surprise the quilt (and myself sometimes) – with what looks best!
9th stage – sew the binding (right side to right side) all around the edge and THEN, and only then, TRIM THE EDGES.
10th stage – if you’re still with me, then you’ll probably be a quilter, or potential quilter. What’s your favourite thing to do whilst hand-stitching the binding? It’s going to take HOURS – me, I like to watch a good film! On rare days in summer, I’ll sit outside in the sunshine, but 90% of my quilts are finished during quiet evenings on my sofa, feet up, watching a film!
11th stage – name the quilt, add a label and get the camera!
I knew I married a tall man for a reason! I had to be quick with the camera, as he stood with arms outstretched to hold up the finished quilt. I was clicking and nagging constantly as it couldn’t possibly touch the autumn leaves – or worse – Flora’s water bowl! Success!!
Daydream Believer was named one afternoon, when I was doing the quilting. The song, suddenly came into my head and the lyrics seemed to fit perfectly …
Oh, I could hide ‘neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings.
The six o’clock alarm would never ring.
Sometimes, people ask how I can let go of a quilt and to tell the truth, this quilt was a special one. As I rolled it up and tied it with a selvedge-ribbon bow, I did say goodbye and felt a little sad. But it wasn’t mine to keep and here’s what my client wrote:
“It was lovely to see you this morning. I wanted to relay to you a very big thank you for the bespoke quilt you made for me. I am so very happy with the end product and I appreciate it will not have been easy given I was changing my mind on design every so often. You exceeded my expectations and the quality of the materials and your workmanship is to the highest standard.
I look forward to commissioning more work with you!”
“Thank You – I’m so pleased you love your quilt”
So now, it’s on with more commission work. There’s one called Champagne Truffles that’s almost ready to be quilted and another commission about which I’m sworn to secrecy. But it’s for somebody famous!!!! I’ll say no more – I’m off to my studio for some SERIOUS design work this morning.
Thank you to everybody who sent me Happy Birthday wishes for yesterday. I had a marvellous day – flowers, wonderful presents from Himself, nougat from Mallorca, wishes from friends and family all around the world, supper with one of the boys and Himself at my favourite restaurant, sparklers, a birthday cake with candles (just 5, I’m counting intervening years, not the tens), lots of magazines (my treat to me) and a new phone (that’s driving me mad)!
I LOVE the 5th of NOVEMBER!