Thursday, 28 November 2013

Wintergreen - some Christmas sewing

I may have been a bit quiet of late, but I have been stitching!  This table runner is pieced from the Wintergreen charm square collection by Moda. It is a very traditional look but that's what I wanted.

Because I am focusing on learning accurate piecing, working with charm squares was quite a challenge as they are not consistently 5" squares. They have their advantages in that you get lovely collections but I think I will avoid them in the future unless the project calls for smaller units which could then be cut accurately from the charm squares.

I also made some BIG bunting and enjoyed it very much so I have fabric to make some small bunting to hang from the mantelpiece at Christmas. 

I have also finished quilting Foxglove Fancy and will post pics when I have sewn down the binding. An expensive buy at Harrogate was a 1/4" dual feed foot for my Janome Horizon But it made for very accurate machine stitching of the binding on the tablerunner and on the Foxglove quilt, and really helped with sewing the mitred corners.

Projects in the pipeline are a pin cushion and tidy for me to have by my sewing machine, and a Nook cover for my SIL. 

And last, but by no means least, an early Christmas present from my big brother...a Gidget II sewing table which allows me to quilt at table level with Big Daisy!  A real treat.

Linking up with Brit Sewing Thursday. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Foxglove Fancy...the quilting begins

Over the last week I have started machine quilting the quilt I made in the stack and whack class a few weeks ago? I quilted in the ditch and now have begun to add more straight lines - not quite ready to tackle free motion yet on a big project. However the hexagon design does lend itself to straight lines and I am trying to mirror the angles and lines of these.

Here is a sneak preview

I have also been tempted by the new Downton Abbey Collection from Andover: I only bought a charm pack which I plan to use as part of a sewing machine cover. It's very lovely -

 Joining in today with Brit Sewing Thursday linky party.
 Happy stitching!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Seeing red at the Quilt Museum, York

I spent a fabulous day last Saturday at the Quilt Museum in York  for a one day workshop designed as an introduction to quilt based research. The session was led by Isabel Dibden Wright and curator, Heather Audin. I went along because I have always enjoyed reading and learning about textile history through books and museum visits and this was an opportunity to find out how to go about studying quilts in a bit more detail. 

There are many reasons to do this - out of personal interest, to inform your own quilt making, an interest in women's and social history, and perhaps to share your findings in a magazine or journal article.  Quilt history in Britain is a far less explored area than in the USA, so there is lot of scope to find out more. Isabel took us through how to approach the study of quilts, the available resources and information and Heather explained the etiquette in approaching museums and galleries where quilt collections are held.

Then on to the practical side: we were able to choose to examine close up and handle some items from the Guild's collection or to look more closely, without touching, one of the quilts in the current exhibition, "It's All in the Making - patchwork and quilting unpicked" by the British Quilt Study Group.

I chose to look at this quilt on display as part of the exhibition, for two reasons: I am always very attracted to this 'frame' style of quilt,  and would love to reproduce one, and the central square and border are Turkey Red fabric, in which I have developed a personal interest following an interesting family history connection. 

 'Copyright of The Quilters' Guild of the British

Turkey Red is a particular process for dyeing cloth and yarn and one of the main industries 

for producing Turkey Red fabric was based in the Vale of Leven, Dumbartonshire, Scotland, where my mother came from. When I went up to Scotland this May to see the Loch Lomond Quilt Show, we took the opportunity to do some family history research and discovered that my grandparents and other family members worked in the dye works in the Vale of Leven. Further research has led me to a wonderful project Colouring the Nation - Turkey Red and other Decorative Textiles in Scotland's Culture, by National Museums Scotland: the project's blog has links to a whole host of related resources.

The purpose of examining the quilt closely was to highlight what can be learned by careful observation. The information board told me that this Frame Quilt, maker unknown, dated from 1865 - 1875. It measures is 68" x 55", is cotton hand pieced and quilted with a chevron or zig zag design commonly found in NW England, S. Scotland  and Northern Ireland.

I then made some sketches and notes: the Turkey Red centre was a beautiful large paisley design, and is framed by nine borders. I won't go into detail here, but it was interesting that the more I looked at the quilt! the more I saw. Even some of the small squares on point and half square triangles had themselves been pieced together, in one case, from six separate little pieces of fabric. The colour scheme and matching of pieces was clearly thought out, but the maker had to make do in some areas with mis-matching border fabric, no doubt because this was meant to be a quilt for everyday use and she had to use up all her scraps.

All in all, a fascinating introduction in how to study and enjoy quilts. The Guild run these workshops every so often so do keep an eye out on their website if you are interested.