Bank Holiday Quilty Musings

Here in the UK we are drawing to the end of a three day, bank holiday weekend.  For me and my little household it has been an easy-going extended weekend.  At the end of last week I’d finally got the space and time to quilt the infamous ‘quilt in a day’ log cabin quilt (you may recall I began this quilt in January!). I decided on a repeat of the spiral quilt pattern used on the puzzle quilt I made in February as I’d pieced the sixteen log cabin blocks in a whirligig arrangement which lends itself to swirling, circular quilting.

The whirligig log cabin, quilted and ready for the binding to be stitched down.
The whirligig log cabin, quilted and ready for the binding to be stitched down.

The quilt measures 68″ square so it was quite a physical task to push and turn it through the throat of my machine.  To keep myself relaxed (you definitely don’t want to be tense when quilting!) I chose some laid back music to quilt along to – Bob Marley’s greatest hits followed by the best of Everything But The Girl (I love Tracey Thorn’s vocals).  On Saturday I attached the binding to Whirligig Log Cabin before dismantling the table arrangement around my machine and giving (some) of the sitting room back to my family!

As well as stitching I’ve been out and about choosing tiles for the new guest shower room we have planned; visiting a friend who is selling some of her fabric stash before returning to her home country of Canada; booking stall space at a couple of craft shows; and considering how best to further my ambition to actually sell some of the quilty items I make in order to fund my quilty habit!  There has been time to sit and flick through some quilting magazines and I’ve picked up some useful tips and inspiration.  I’ve also been enjoying reading posts by other quilty bloggers and decided it would be helpful to mash together these strands of thought and quiet quilty musings before the weekday rush takes over once again –  hopefully this ‘mash’ will provide some useful links for you too!

Quilting tips:

  • One from me – don’t underestimate how often your sewing machine needs to be cleaned and de-fluffed!  I do remove the needle-plate and bobbin race at the end of each project and have a proper brush around but on Friday I noticed my machine skipping some of the quilting stitches.  When I had a look inside I discovered the bobbin race was already jam-packed full of lint!  Needless to say, after a clean the machine stitched far more consistently!
  • And from a magazine article about adding borders to a quilt top – a proportional border is generally about 0ne-eigth of the size of the shortest edge of the quilt; multiple borders are usually arranged with the narrowest towards the centre of the quilt top, getting wider as they are added away from the centre (I’m often amazed by the number of borders in a quilt – I don’t see them all at first glance but when I really study the quilt I can see how each border enhances the overall pattern by drawing attention to colours and shapes within the quilt).
  • And some thought provoking ideas from Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts – playing and talking are essential parts of the creative process – giving space for ‘happenstance’, serendipity.

Selling handmade crafts:

  • I’ve made a point of engaging with other crafters on Facebook and at the Folksy Forum over the past month.  I don’t feel so frustrated as I discover other people struggling to find customers and learn from their good marketing practices.
  • I decided to book a couple of local craft fairs – one is part of an event organised by an excellent local charity, The Pink Place, that was formed to provide pampering treats for women undergoing cancer therapies.  The other is a village annual show. I rarely make more money than the booking fee at craft fairs but I have to hope that people might take one of my flyers and remember what they saw!
  • A project in a magazine got me thinking of a ‘new line’ to make and sell – table runners.  I have sold a couple of festive runners in the past, but how about making some non-seasonal runners and mats?

On-going Projects (UFO’s, WIP whatever!)

  • In my last post, Gentle Progress, I proudly showed pictures of two quilt tops awaiting fabrics for borders and backing.  Silly me, I failed to read the bottom of a notification e-mail from the fabric supplier!  I’d muddled the quantities system so they were awaiting clarification from me about just how much of two fabrics I required.  Blow!!  I’d been waiting most of the week for the parcel to arrive so I could speedily prepare the patchwork tops for quilting and only discovered my error late on Friday afternoon – no response over the long weekend of course 🙁
The dark & light or left & right pieces and one of the eight 'braids' under construction.
The dark & light or left & right pieces and one of the eight ‘braids’ under construction.
  • I made a start on a friendship braid quilt.  This is using up  2½”, width of fabric strips, from a beautiful Moda fabric range called Luna Notte.  I’ve had them in my stash for four years – a purchase made at my first visit to the annual ‘Festival of Quilts’ held at Malvern, Gloucestershire.  I made one mistake in the cutting out (managed to get one of the fabric strips facing right side up instead of down *sigh*) but thankfully there is enough left over to cover the mistake and also make a cushion to match.  Or I might have a go at using the leftovers to form the pocket for a quillow.  I’ve never made one before so that would be a much needed tick in LEARN  (one of my words for 2015).
  • I made some purchases from my friend’s stash – I deliberately chose blues which take me out of my usual colour choices and I intend to use them to play around with half-square triangles.  I’ve been particularly inspired by Katy’s amazing HST Fiesta quilt and by Katie Clark Blakesley’s ‘Sorbet Mini Quilt’ in ‘Vintage Quilt Revival’.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • Quilts UK 2015 – I’m lucky enough to be joining ladies from North Hampshire Quilters for the coach trip to Malvern in a couple of weeks time 🙂
  • Roundabout Quilters – The Show, 27-28 June – the first quilt exhibition to be arranged by the group formed in Basingstoke (renouned for it’s roundabouts!) less than two years ago.

Those are the quilty related musings I’ve managed to capture over this weekend!  I am very grateful to the on-line quilting community that provides so much inspiration and cheerful company through the quilt creating process.


7 thoughts on “Bank Holiday Quilty Musings

  1. lots of quilty musings ! Your log cabin quilt turned out very nice, I can imagine that stuffing it through the throat space of your machine was a real workout ! You’ve included some good info on borders that I did not know. I have a WIP that I should add those notes to. If I ever move that quilt along I had sketched out some borders to be included and forget now what the proportions were. I had read that pipe cleaners make excellent tools for getting into the nooks and crannies around the bobbin area and use them for that all the time now.

    • Thanks – I suppose they are quite similar to some of the ‘smudgy’ soft natural tones you’ve been using and creating! I’m really enjoying using this fabric after ‘loving’ it for four years!


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