Thursday, 21 August 2014

Baby quilts,a day at the farm and a visit from Canadians

Here in the Bomber County of Lincolnshire there has been lots of excitment this week as we have had a visit from the Canadian Lancaster aeroplane. We have our own Lancaster here too, but it is the first time these two planes have flown together for 50 years, since the second world war. So today there they were, flying around the local air base, over the cathedral and off to the south for another display. Lots of people were there to watch as Lincolnshire people are very proud of our local history, especially in this year of the centenary. Here is my plane from Howell's baby quilt, I will tell you more about that quilt in a minute...  

Plane from Howell's quilt
This week we have also had a visit from our little one and her mum. Being a Granny is my favourite job after quilt making. Now we are a bit more experienced, we can take her out for the day. It was nerve racking the first time, much more worrying than with our own children, I felt like a tiger granny! Do you know the feeling? So we went to our local country farm for children....

Well, this was hysterical to watch, small, very excited black and white piglets charging down the course and everyone clapping the winner...

Some people were so excited by the visitors, they climbed on the picnic table, in order to get a better view....

Goat at Rushmore Farm Park

The Kunekune pig, yes that is the right spelling, was quite a big chap... and so friendly... not too pretty, but a lovely smile....

Kunekune Pig

People made friends with their neighbours....

Ram and ducks
Others prefered to gaze over the fence...

or chat over the back door .....

Donkey at Rushmore Farm Park
Everyone seemed to eat the same food, goats, ducks, hens, horses except for the hawks, who only got out of bed for a classy bit of steak....

some people didn't get out of bed at all.... for anything..... anything at all....

cuddles were everywhere....

Locally made ice cream was eaten, the pony was ridden, the baby owlets were stroked and much, much more.... we had a lovely day down on the farm.... 

I have also made two quilts this week, hope you are impressed! The first one is for Howell and will be given to him at his Christening.

Quilt by Green Star Quilts

 His family is from Wales, so there are two flags with the Welsh dragon at the bottom. 

sheep by Green Star Quilts
The sheep is eating Welsh daffodils, the pig is in the leek plot and a plane flies over head as his daddy is in the Royal Air Force.

The second quilt is for Hamish, whose family is from Scotland:

Quilt by Green Star Quilts

Do you like the Highland cows in the Scottish thistles?

Highland cows by green Star Quilts

The backing fabric is a very soft brushed cotton of the Black Watch tartan

The camouflaged animal fabric is there because his dad is in the army.

chickens by Green Star Quilts

This week seems to have had a farming theme, or at least a countryside, outdoors sort of flavour, big on tractors, lots of animals, hands on feeding and stroking.... Is it idealised? Do you think children get a fairy tale view of farming today through books, visits like ours or even quilts like mine? It is very like my own childhood, but so much of that has vanished now, and yet I so want our little one to feel in touch with these animals, their food, our use of them and of the land. Do you have a view too?

 I hope you have a lovely weekend, it feels very autumnal here but we are hoping wildly for an Indian summer,
Kind regards,

Friday, 15 August 2014

Kaffe Fassett exhibition in Lincolnshire

Do you love Kaffe Fassett quilts and his books? Well come with me for a very special afternoon...

It was hard to believe that the weekend of the big, big Festival of Quilts at Birmingham there was also a fantastic exhibition in Lincolnshire. 

Quilt by Kaffe Fassett

Kaffe Fassett lent his amazing quilts for two days to the church at Aslacby, a little village near Sleaford which dates back to the year of 1162. We were so lucky to see these quilts in such a wonderful setting. Let me take you on a walk around the church, and the garden of the Manor House, where English Cream Teas were served.... capital letters here suggest the importance of this feature to husband and myself.... Come into the church first....

Aslacby church 
Through the doorway

door handle, Aslacby church

step on the Kelim rug and into the church

Rug at Aslacby church

Look towards the altar and there is the first quilt

Mariner's Compass quilt by Kaffe Fassett
Look closely

Mariners Compass quilt by Kaffe Fassett 

All around the quilts hang from the rafters and the walls, look through and you can see several quilts at once, just little glimpses, like layers of curtains...

Quilt by Kaffe Fassett
The organisers chose a sympathetic spot for each quilt, the perfect background....
Quilt by Kaffe Fassett

Because we are thinking about the centenary this year, this one was rather emotional

Quilt by Kaffe Fasett

The poppies and the quilt together

Rememberance poppies and Kaffe Fassett quilt
One more quilt then we will walk around the garden. I love how the bell rope echoes the colours of the quilt

Bell rope and Kaffe Fassett quilt

Now off to the Manor House and garden:

Add caption

In Lincolnshire, we have many beautiful houses which are so  old and look as though they have just grown out of the ground.

The well with ferns growing inside

The walls and paths are the perfect stage for plants...

geraniums and a cobbled path

Walk around the garden with me....

shed in Aslacby Manor House garden

I need this shed sooo much!

Garden doorway
There were other people looking around too...

Have a wonderful Cream Tea, say hello to the people running the book and fabric stall, then one last look at the quilts

Pink quilt by Kaffe Fassett above Aslackby church organ

Then home again and a very happy  and privileged quilter to have seen these quilts in such a beautiful setting.The exhibition raised over £1000 for the church too,

I hope you enjoyed your afternoon with me in Lincolnshire. Have you made any quilts from his books, are you a fan too? Those quilts just made me feel so happy, the colours and the patterns. Also, they are quilts to be used, not packed away 'for best' and followed the William Morris idea to have nothing in your house which is not beautiful to you.  Do you think so too?

Happy quilting this weekend,
Kind regards,

Friday, 8 August 2014

Sea and storms, a new idea for cushion making

Yesterday I had a wonderful day at the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham. It is an enormous quilt show, with huge numbers of traders, teachers, artists and visitors. For someone who works alone most days, it was even a tiny  bit too much, a little overwhelming. Do you feel that way sometimes in big crowds?

3D zoo animals at the Festival of  Quilts 2014, I didn't write down who made them,
 if you know, please tell me so I can add the name

 But I met some lovely people and got lots of ideas, bought a tiny amount of fabric ( Ha!) and saw lots and lots of beautiful quilts made to such a high standard, with enormous skill and artistic flare, until in the end, my head was full to the top!

Pidgeons in a Garden by Chloe Redfern


               One of my favourite stands was that of a quilter called Janet Clare. I bought her book called Freya and Fred, a gentle story about a little girl and her dog, with lovely ideas for little quilts, all in soft colours and with beautiful photography too. I can't wait to make some of the things for the youngest little girl in our family.

I also bought her charm pack of little squares, smaller than a normal charm pack; because I loved the sea and sailing theme. The fabric range is called Hearty Good Wishes by Moda.

Then I met a lady called Paula Doyle from Green Mountain Quilts who was so kind and showed me her amazing method for making very small blocks using one inch squares...sooo small and would be fiddly if you didn't use her method and so easy to control if you do! Her quilts were stunning, do look at them here.

Freya and Fred by Janet Clare

Then I had a brainwave, a light bulb moment and thought I could combine the charm squares with the method and, hey presto, I would have perfect seams, all matching, no more slipped points for me... hooray! And then I thought I must share the news and show my first tutorial ever. 

So here I go, please be patient if I have missed bits out, it reminds me of my student nurse exams which one would fail if you sent the patient home in your essay without taking the intravenous catheter out!

       You will need:

  •  A tiny charm pack or 42 squares cut to the size you want to use.
  • A piece of iron-on  Vilene about 24 x 24 inches
  • A large piece of baking parchment to cover your Vilene square
  • Extra matching fabrics for the sashing and back of the cushion 
  • Sewing machine, threads, iron, a travel iron is great here for size, and maybe stuff to clean the iron if you touch the Vilene glue with it.

Spread out the Vilene, glue side upper most( it feels more bobbly then the other side, that's the glue bobbles). Arrange your squares in pleasing pattern, leaving a tiny gap between each one.

Squares on the Vilene
Just touch the centre of each one with the iron tip to anchor it, then cover all the squares with the baking parchment to protect the iron and press the squares onto the Vilene until they are glued down.

Moda Squares ironed to Vilene

Trim the Vilene around the edges of your squares

trim the Vilene
Fold the right sides together along the first little gap between one row of squares. Pin and stitch a 1/4 inch seam through all layers
fold the right sides together along theVilene gap

Here you can see the stitching

stitching the seam

Complete all the 'little gap' seams in one direction.

all the seams in one direction complete

Press carefully so all the seams go in one direction, use the parchment to protect your iron. I can't tell you how many times I have glued the iron to the ironing stand! Paula cuts open her seams here to press them flat, but I left them closed as I lost my nerve with the scissors! This is what the right side looks like:

right side

Now pin the seams in the other direction and stitch down with the first set of seams facing towards you to stop them rucking up and turning over.

stitch with the seams lying towards you

Press on the right side, a seam iron helps here to flatten all the seams. Now look at that! Every corner perfectly matched! Hooray! Pure magic isn't it? Now you can add some sashing around the edges....

sashing added
and some embroidered letters which Janet teaches you how to do in her book. I have added the name of the fabrics as it goes so well with the theme of the cushion If you layer the piece with wadding and a backing fabric you can do a little quilting, I did a big grid like a fishing net...

Now the piece can be made into a cushion, a wall hanging, a bag or whatever you wish.....It is too dark here now for the final ta dah photo of the cushion, so please pop back tomorrow and I will have added it then.

If you have glued your iron to the Vilene, this cleaner is excellent, I have bought many tubes and I'm not showing you the plate of my iron...

Faultless hot iron cleaner

I just wanted to say thank you to Janet and Paula who made my day special and whose talents have been behind the  the design of the fabric and the  Vilene method for making this cushion, although the tutorial is written by me.

Here is another quilt from the show which touched me deeply. there has been so much bad weather,so many storms, so much loss and sadness due to the  damage throughout the world, this quilt says it all:

Deluge  by Hilary Richardson
It was quilted in straight diagonal lines like heavy rain. Here is Hilary's inspiration:

Hilary's caption beside the quilt at the Festival of Quilts 2014

If you have been able to follow this tutorial then I am really pleased as it is the first I have written and I hope my patient goes home in good condition ( see above!). If you can't make head or tail of it, I will try again, just leave a comment about where I lost you...

It is raining heavily here, we won't be flooded as we live on a hill,
 I hope you are all safe and sound too,
Kind regards,