Beginners Quilt No6 Finished and ready for a new home :-)

A few weeks ago the final class of the final Beginners Course of 2018 took place at Purple Stitches. As the class tutor I always make a fresh version of the class quilt along with the participants. We ended the course with a session all about binding. Well… I machine stitched the binding to the front of my quilt and then it hung around as a hand stitching project for quite some time…

Finally I can declare this little quilt a finish 🙂 It joins six other versions of the Beginners Quilt that I have made over the past two years.

This finish also marks the end of an era as Viv of Purple Stitches has designed a new pattern for up-coming beginners courses. I’ve made a sample quilt top and will let you know when the big reveal of the new quilt design takes place 🙂

So, I have in my possession five of said Beginners Quilts. Here are three of the five, each measuring 45″ square.

30's Playback quilt by Allison Reid

All are now listed in my Etsy Shop, ‘AllisonsPatchworks’. It would be lovely to see them going to new owners, hopefully to be loved and well used rather than joining a rather overwhelming stack of quilts on my spare bed 🙁 See what happened to the stack when I needed a quilt from the bottom of the pile 😀

(For anyone considering the purchase of one of my quilts or runners, I promise that I do store them all flat and free of folds on the spare bed in a well aired room, out of direct sunlight – NOT in the heap you see in this photograph!).

I haven’t mentioned selling craft for some time. What I’ve learned is; it’s not in the least bit easy – down right discouraging at times – but can lead to unexpected opportunities – like teaching at local quilt shops or developing pattern writing skills. Sharing the ups and downs of selling craft with other makers I have met has made me much more aware of the existence of independent crafters in the retail market. Here in the UK a movement called ‘Just a Card‘ has really gained momentum. Started by Sarah Hamilton to make shoppers aware of the significance of each purchase made from an independent maker/retailer.

The campaign came about when Artist & Designer Sarah Hamilton saw the quote “If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought ‘just a card‘ we’d still be open” by store keepers who’d recently closed their gallery. This prompted a call to action! Designer/Makers and independent shops and galleries need a voice. People seldom realise the considerable costs involved in exhibiting at design shows or keeping a shop open. Stand fees, power, materials, wages etc need to be met before even a penny of profit can be realised. Running a shop is often a labour of love. Without dedication and passion, and crucially sales, it would be another boarded up eyesore.

The campaign includes those of us who don’t operate through ‘bricks and mortar’ stores but do still incur retail costs (Etsy charges a small listing fee for each item in a shop and takes a percentage of each sale; to take part in a craft fair there is the stand fee plus the need to have public liability insurance as well as travel and other costs…) I’m not writing this to make you feel sorry for independent crafter/retailers but rather to do my bit for the Just a Card campaign and others who are raising awareness of the difference even the smallest of purchases can make to the survival of the ‘little guys’. Look out for the ‘Just a Card’ hashtag online and the ‘Just a Card’ stickers in shop windows.

I’d add to the above the importance of NOT copying bought patterns for your friends or, heaven forbid, for a whole class or a quilt group. The pattern writer has spent a lot of time and money in producing the pattern and will generally receive less than half the retail price of each copy sold. To stay in business that pattern writer needs you and me to be purchasing patterns. Include a purchased pattern for each individual in the cost of a class (and if you are taking part in a class make sure there is no breach of copyright to the pattern or instructions being used). Maybe you’ll be able to negotiate a bulk purchase/wholesale price directly with the writer – and remind the group NOT to be tempted to copy the pattern instructions for friends who couldn’t get to the class!

Time to hop off my soap box 🙂

Progress is being made on my down-sized version of the MSQCs Christmas Tree Chevron Quilt. I’ve made a start on free motion quilting the background after echo quilting around the star. I used yellow and orange thread to emphasize the star and give the impression that it is radiating light. The FMQ design is a mass of curly meandering with a few holly leaves mixed in. I did have grand ideas of quilting some feather designs but a duo of fears – namely, stitching a mess and using such a bold design as feathers detracting from the simplicity of the patchwork tree – led me to the stitching I’m repeating throughout the background.

Linking with Connie for Linky Tuesday at Free Motion by the River.

Allison

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (38)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your current project to this virtual sewing day and share in some of the latest news, tips and trends doing the rounds in the quilty community. You can share links to your projects and community news in the comments section at the end of this post 🙂

My project news: I’ve been making progress on the two projects designed to be part of the ‘from sewing room to guest room’ transformation due to take place in just two weeks time. With the countdown to Christmas well underway there is a bit urgency about these projects now! But I’m not panicking  – they are providing a steadying influence to the Christmas preparation roller coaster!

Trolley covers on my design wall by Allison Reid

First: the scrap-busting covers for the storage trolleys are coming along nicely. All the piecing is done and I’ve bought a width of calico for the backing. Next step is to create the quilt sandwiches.

Pieced cover on trolley by Allison Reid

Chevron Christmas Tree ready to quilt by Allison ReidTalking of sandwiches, the Chevron Christmas Tree is now pinned and ready for quilting. I trimmed 3″ strips of fabric from the sides of the square quilt top and stitched one of the strips along the top and one along the bottom so the star and tree trunk are no longer right on the edges of the quilt. So, scary bit now – get my sewing space set up for quilting and go for it! I’m planning to echo quilt around the tree and star – partly to stablise the layers but mainly to stabilise my nerves before switching to free motion quilting :-O I’ll share my quilting ups and downs @allisonreid.neweverymorning on Instagram.

Below are just a few of the blog posts, quilts and tips that have caught my attention this past week. You can find more on my Pinterest board ‘Pins of the Week‘.

Isabella’s new blog page ‘Then and Again Quilts’ is proving a really interesting place to visit. In this post she share’s what she has learned about the history of the colour-fast ‘Turkey Red’ dye.

The winners and runners up of the Fall Tips and Tutorials Festival have been announced. Click over and discover a bunch of really useful posts – you might find the solution to a quilty issue that’s been vexing you for ages!

Allison Harris creates beautiful quilts with modern fabrics, plenty of negative space but always a nod to patchwork tradition. Her latest, called ‘Pixel Chain’, is no exception 🙂 and it’s jelly roll friendly.

Yvonne has issued an invitation to join in her annual Planning Party. It starts on 15th December and runs through to the last day of the year. A great opportunity to join other quilters looking back at 2018 and planning for 2019 – there are prizes too! Yvonne is a pattern designer and has a gorgeous quilt using shades of one colour on a white background, in the latest edition of Love Patchwork & Quilting

Fancy trying out a wonky-style technique on a traditional block? Carole Lyles Shaw shares her Improv Log Cabin tutorial using Island Batik fabrics.

One of the first blogs I ever started to follow was Amanda Jean Nyberg’s ‘Crazy Mom Quilts’. She has a passion for using up scrap fabrics, has written patterns and books and produced many, many beautiful quilts – her blog posts always contain stunning photographs as well as measured, thoughtful reflections on quilting and running an on-line quilting business. Plus her regular post ‘Finish It Up Friday’ has been one of the most popular linkys in the worldwide quilty community. But families grow and times change, Amanda has decided to close her business and cease writing her blog posts at the end of this year, taking back patchwork quilting to be her hobby rather than her business. Her blog will be greatly missed but good to know she’ll still part of the quilty community over on Instagram 🙂

If you are taking a break from your sewing machine you might like to try settling down with a new series of novels with a patchwork theme. The ‘Quilting Cozy’ books by Carol Dean Jones are reviewed by Bernie of Needle of Foot.

Time for me to carefully skip past the table of unwritten Christmas cards and head for the sewing room 😉

Happy stitching.

Allison

 

Snapshots and Snippets Part 2

2019 Beginners Quilt Blocks by Allison ReidContinuing my attempt to catch up with quilty goings on and other stuff in no particular order:

I’m keeping the quilty momentum going through a nicely balanced week. Yesterday evening I made the final blocks needed for the 2019 Beginners Class sample quilt. It has been a real joy to cut and piece the very pretty Serendipity fabrics. I think the colours will look particularly appealing in the New Year when grey skies abound and the trees and flower beds are bare.

This is a photo of my sewing space set up for cutting and piecing. Everything within easy reach.

Sewing room - cutting and piecing by Allison Reid

The swivel office chair is really useful and the folding table is lightweight but sturdy – a good rest for the little ironing board and my coffee mug 🙂 My cutting mat is on the folding, gate-leg table which when fully extended becomes my basting table. I am on a mission to find a proper place for everything in my sewing room. The wooden ruler rack my Dad made for me is just wonderful. I so enjoy reaching for rulers as I need them and slotting them back in place after each use – no more scrabbling around on the cutting table to find a ruler or trying to ‘store’ them leaning against the legs of the table!

Wooden ruler rack by Allison Reid
The wooden ruler rack has six grooves and currently holds eight rulers.

Workstation tidies by Allison ReidNot nearly as elegant as the handmade ruler rack but just as practical are these re-purposed washing tablet containers. A couple of these on the cutting table or next to my sewing machine help me to keep all my supplies within sight and easy reach. And I’m forming good habits, putting items back in the containers straight after use – less time searching for mis-placed items is more time to be creative 😉 What measures have you taken to make more efficient use of your creative space and time?

 

 

Today I would like to stitch the Beginners blocks together and complete the quilt top but I know quilting the current Beginners quilt is a more urgent task. Time to rearrange the furniture for quilting…

Ready for quilting by Allison Reid
Tables rearranged to support the weight of a quilt whilst machine quilting.

Fabric Bauble by Allison ReidIn my previous post I mentioned a couple of crafty projects I had been working on for events at our Church. Our monthly craft group received a kind donation of a box full of polystyrene balls. Humm! What to do with them? A quick search on-line and I found this excellent tutorial on You Tube – how to make a fabric covered bauble by Big Dreams Embroidery.  The tutorial even includes a very helpful demonstration showing how to make the double bow that sits atop the completed bauble. My daughter and I spent a morning experimenting and made a bauble to use as a sample. I took along a pile of my Christmas stash fabrics to the Craft Group meeting on Monday and the bauble making was a big success 🙂

The second craft I’m working on also involved looking on line for inspiration. A tea-light holder. Members of our Church congregation have responded generously to a request for empty preserve jars. I’ve had a search through them all and brought home a few that need more than a scrub with wire-wool to remove the last traces of the label glue. This is a job for solvent…

Sticky jars and solvent by Allison Reid

The weather has been so mild this week that I’ve hung washing out to dry in the garden! Last week and over the weekend we did have some very heavy rain. I’ve been aware that the seed in the bird feeders had got very wet and was looking distinctly moldy, not to say manky. Making the most of the dry weather I dismantled the feeders, gave them a soak and a scrub in hot, soapy water before leaving them to air dry in the warmth of the sun. It was very satisfying to get on and do one of the many ‘I must get round to doing that’ jobs dotted around my house and garden!

I hope you will bear with my snapshots and snippets – I am so happy to be capturing some of my whirling thoughts and bringing them to the blog at last 🙂 I’m afraid it all reads as a real jumble of random thoughts and activities but maybe I’m not alone in jumping about from one crafty/home activity to another?

Allison