Happy New Year!
I’ve been pressing on with my goal to learn how to use the Inkscape design software. However my plan to do a little of the Lynda.com course every morning came to a shuddering halt on Thursday when I couldn’t shift a headache. Time in front of a computer screen just wasn’t going to be possible so I turned to sorting out the sewing room…. I found my box of carefully packed Works In Progress, picked out the Scrap Vortex blocks and found that a pattern-less sewing project was an effective distraction from the head pain 🙂
I started my version of Amanda Jean Nyberg’s Scrap Vortex quilt back in March 2017. I had decided to combine using up scraps with a leader/ender project. I created a bin of scraps from my growing ‘collection’, majoring on fabric prints that might appeal more to a boy than a girl (so more monsters, robots, sharks, blues, greens and orange, not so much flowers, fairy castles, pink and mauve). As I worked away on other projects at my sewing machine I’d pick two fabrics from the scrap bin, using them as my leaders and enders, stitching the pairs together as I pieced.
By September the basket was overflowing so I spent some time moving on the Scrap Vortex process – stitching the pairs into blocks of various sizes.
On Thursday morning I spread the blocks on my design wall and had a think about how to piece all these blocks together. In the end I decided to start in the middle adding blocks around the central block, log-cabin style.
The final few ‘blocks’ were long strips of multiple scrappy squares and rectangles with sides measuring around 6″ – 8″.
I had to dip into the scrap bin to stitch fresh scrappy strips to make the blocks more regular in size. By the end of the day my headache was gone and the Scrap Vortex quilt was coming together nicely. I can’t quite fathom how all those unrelated fabric pieces combine to make such a pleasing quilt top but somehow they do (to my way of thinking).
Now the scrap part of this quilt it complete I am going to dispose of the remaining fabric scraps from the bin. Ridiculous that I should feel slightly guilty about this: after all they were scraps; probably the remainder are either fabrics that I never did or no longer love; and it would be great to fill the bin with the girly scrap fabrics and start another leader/ender quilt! Resolution: I shall bag up the remaining scraps and drop them into the Hampshire Air Ambulance textiles recycling fund raising bin. Guilt free clearing of unwanted textiles!
Looking through the box of WIP projects reminded me of the other boxes and bags dotted around our home containing an embarrassingly large number of UnFinished Objects. A fresh goal for 2018 quickly formed: how about joining in with Patty at Elm Street Quilts for the One Monthly Goal linky, pledging to work on a UFO each month? The linky has an accountability element mixed with inspiration, encouragement and a great sense of community across the quilty world.
So, my OMG is to add borders (or maybe not…) to my Scrap Vortex flimsy, find backing fabric, make up a quilt sandwich and complete the machine quilting before the end of January. There it is, written in grey and white! :-O I will post any progress on instagram – find me at allisonreid.neweverymorning
Also linking with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or Not Friday.
Christmas has been a lovely mix of time spent with extended family, Church family and immediate family. We still have a little bit more of Christmas to celebrate as our daughter and son-in-law will be joining us later in the week 🙂
Boxing Day finds us enjoying a peaceful afternoon; reading, resting, watching Mary Poppins or internet searching whilst drinking tea and digesting a light lunch.
So what went on in 2017? Well! I looked through my photo files and found several completed projects that never made it into a blog post 😦 I’ve posted them into my 2017 Gallery for reference and to boost my sense of achievement (press the gallery link button above to see my finishes of 2017).
My word for 2017 was ‘venture’. I ventured into the world of free motion quilting and whilst my skills are still pretty basic that spirit of venture did enable me to complete several quilt tops using free motion techniques.
I also ventured into using my patchwork and quilting skills to teach workshops. Viv at Purple Stitches invited me to lead three beginners courses through the year, teach a table runner workshop using my Star Runner pattern and guide participants through the techniques used in the Chocolatier BOM. I learned to appreciate just how much effort goes into a well prepared workshop! I’d like to grow my workshop leading skills through 2018 (if anyone will have me!).
My three goals of 2017 were formed using Patricia van den Akker’s Dream/Plan/Do planner. I found articulating goals, being given monthly tasks and working on the monthly accountability exercises incredibly useful. At the start of 2017 I had no idea I’d spend so much time teaching and so little time selling my patchwork quilts. Although the direction of my patchwork and quilting activities have changed the goals have remained consistent and helped me make some pretty big decisions around the craft.
The first of the three goals was ‘to design and make a quilt to exhibit in a non-juried national show’. By May the goal had been achieved. I traveled to the Quilts UK show at Malvern and saw ‘In the Cool of the Evening’ hanging alongside a whole host of far more accomplished quilts. As a design the quilt has many flaws but my goal was achieved and I now know how to enter a quilt in an exhibition. The quilt also gave me the chance to be venturesome, doing lots of free motion quilting.
The second goal was to ‘produce, launch and sell three quilt patterns’. I achieved steps on the way to this goal but no new patterns have been produced. I’ve used EQ7 to design several quilt tops. The next stage, translating those designs into polished step by step patterns requires me getting to grips with some other software. I find giving time to learning such skills really difficult. I haven’t developed resilience when it comes to mounting the learning curve these computer skills demand. I just want to get it done and then be back in my comfort zone: fabrics, cutting mat and sewing machine!
The third goal of 2017 has been to give myself opportunities ‘to learn and practice new skills’. At the the start of the year I assumed those skills would revolve around hands-on patchwork and quilting. As the year progressed I found the skills I actually needed to develop were more about teaching classes and writing patterns.
I did do some practical skill developing: as already mentioned, free motion quilting; one venture into curved piecing; and a couple of projects involving foundation paper piecing. But I do have several unfinished Craftsy classes growing dusty on the digital shelf!
As I’ve been reviewing these goals and other aspects of 2017 my goals and plans for 2018 have emerged. Having goals and keeping to regular reviews has been so helpful that it was a no-brainer to invest in the 2018 Dream/Plan/Do planner and the encouragements guaranteed through membership of Patricia’s DPD Facebook group. The 2018 planner divides the year into quarters, working on a goal per quarter.
My initial goal for 2018 is to produce a patchwork pattern by developing my EQ7 skills and learning the basics of Inkscape.
Another goal is to be part of Hampshire Open Studios. This is an annual event involving over a hundred artists and artisans across the county. Studios/workshops/homes are open to the public through 10 days in August.
The other two goals will probably include opening an on-line shop on the British craft site, Folksy, as well as more learning/skill growing. And, of course, all will be accompanied by more making 🙂 and blog post writing 🙂
My word for 2018 is a return to one of two I chose for 2015 – LEARN. I have so much to learn, as described above, and there’s a raft of UFOs and WIP to practice on and, hopefully, finish!
I’m enjoying reading the reviews and plans of other quilting bloggers via Yvonne Fuchs’ linky, 2018 Planning Party.
Enjoying the closing days of 2017, looking back with gratitude, and forward with hope to 2018 🙂
Way back in the Autumn of 2014 I collected together fabrics to make a quilt featuring sheep. I found plaid and checked cottons: some bought new, others up-cycled from second hand clothing, teaming them up with sheep print fabric to make ninepatch blocks. I found a Collie dog print too and cutting just one square from it I called the quilt ‘Where’s Collie?’ (I know, there’s no end to my wit :-))
The quilt was purchased by a lady who lives in a very rural part of England and she was intending it to be a snuggle blanket for use in her camper van. I hope it has been well used over the past three years.
Of course there were fabrics left over, so I made a tote bag:
And a teapot cosy:
I gave the cosy as Christmas gift to a couple of friends who, as well as loving to drink tea brewed in a pot, live a very self-sufficient, rustic lifestyle. The couple take their camping gear, a collection of Tilley lamps and hand crafts to several rural shows through the year. The tea cosy travels with them and has received favourable interest from visitors to their stall. Yvonne suggested that an oven mitt to match the cosy would be a very welcome addition to their camping ‘kit’. This comment came to mind as I scratched around for Christmas gift ideas. I searched through my stash (sorted by colour and size of fabric piece) and, thankfully, found a selection from the original quilt along with pieces of the sheep and Collie prints.
An on line search came up with several methods for making oven mitts. I chose to follow Vanessa, The Crafty Gemini’s tutorial, adding a few changes as I went along.
First I cut out 2½” fabric squares and made a patchwork measuring approximately 21″ x 12½”.
I made paper templates by drawing around my own oven mitts – adding a generous ¼” seam allowance.
For padding I used a layer of Insul-Bright (left over from making table mats) and a layer of cotton wadding. I machine quilted a cross hatch grid across the patchwork sandwich and then used the paper templates to cut out the top of the right and left mittens.
For the palm side of the mitts I made use of some wonderfully soft natural linen given me by a de-stashing Aunt. I used the same two layer combination of padding (Insul-Bright and cotton wadding), made a sandwich and lightly quilted wavy lines to keep the layers together.
Once I’d cut out the two palm sides of the mitts I stitched them to the mitt tops (relieved to find I ended up with a pair of mitts!). I reused the paper templates to cut out some soft calico linings and attached them to the padded outer mitts as shown by Vanessa in her You Tube tutorial (I inserted a hanging tab in each mitt at this stage).
Finally I top- stitched around the opening of each oven mitt to add a bit of decoration and keep the lining in place.
I’m very glad I held on to those fabrics after the initial quilt project was completed as to date I’ve been able to use them to create three extra projects! It raises the question of how to store fabric left overs though: should I split related fabrics and store them by colour or should I store well-matched fabrics together after they have been used in a project thinking they’ll probably be used together again? BUT it’s only five days ’til Christmas, I need to be tidying and transforming my sewing space into a guest room NOT be re-organising my stash! 😀
Yvonne Fuchs is hosting her annual review and preview linky. It’s inspiring to see what other patchwork quilters have achieved through the year and what they are planning for the New Year. Why not take a look and/or write a post to share on the linky? And there are prizes to be won 🙂
I guess this may be my last blog post before Christmas so I’d like to thank you for taking time to read and follow my blog and to wish you a joy-filled Christmas.