Not Your Typical Bank Holiday Monday!

Today is an atypical Bank Holiday Monday. For one it is sunny and VERY hot! Being British we plan for cool, rainy holidays….

Secondly, in our household we are waiting, waiting… To hear from our eldest son who was admitted to hospital last night and is undergoing emergency hernia surgery as I write. To occupy our anxious wait I have retreated to the relative cool of my sewing room while my husband is in the sitting room watching the hi-lights of yesterday’s dramatic Ashes Test match.

Yesterday evening, blissfully unaware that our son (who lives across town) was writhing around in agony, I managed to complete all the fmq feather swirls on the first Square-in-a-Square quilt. My free motion ‘skills’ produced a variety of swirls – some with just seven feathers others with ten. But I am content with the overall look.

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl (3) by Allison Reid

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl (2) by Allison Reid

Now. with my heart beating a little faster than is necessary for the activity involved, I am squaring off the quilt and preparing to attach the binding. Thankfully neither job requires my full attention 🙂

Square in a Square trimming by Allison Reid

I am so thankful to our God for the gift of prayer. Yesterday morning we sat with both our sons in Church, we sang God’s praises together, prayed together and shared in Holy Communion together. Our God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow 🙂 We can trust him through the good times and the difficult times.

Linking with Beth for Monday Making and Em for Moving It Forward Monday.

Allison

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (74)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share 🙂 It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here in England, the sun is shining and the mercury is rising. There’s time to enjoy the outdoors and play in the sewing room too: bring along your project(s) and share in the conversations initiated by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Add your thoughts to the conversations by using the comments box at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

I was aiming for a finish this week but it hasn’t quite come about. My main focus has been on the quilting of one of the Square-in-a-Square quilts. Using the walking foot I stitched edge-to-edge wavy lines followed by in-the-ditch stitching around the charm squares at the centre of each block. The quilting shows up best on the back of the quilt:

Square in a Square quilting back by Allison Reid

I liked the squishy look this open quilting design produced – I was reminded of the eiderdowns we had on beds before duvets became the go-to bedding. But on reflection I decided a quilted design within the centre sqares would create interest whilst adding to the stability of the layers. My first choice was to mark and stitch (using a free motion set up) a design into each square using a stencil.

Square in a Square stencil by Allison Reid

This didn’t work so well…

Square in a Square stencil quilting by Allison Reid

I could put up with the wobbly stitching lines and the variation in stitch size but when the beginning and end of the continuous line design didn’t meet up… Well! I got the stitch ripper out and had a re-think. I plumped for free motion feather swirls. The results are not particularly even but I am content with the overall result – imperfect feather designs are very forgiving.

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl by Allison Reid

I’ve completed three of the feather swirls so my aim is to complete the remaining seventeen before attaching the binding to the quilt.

Tomatoes ripening in my garden by Allison ReidI will be spending quite a bit of time outdoors too – this weekend feels like a bit of a bonus at the end of the summer season. The tomatoes are finally ripening and I am moving into phase two of the ‘battle of the bird table’ with my adversary: the ever growing population of large, greedy Woodpigeons. I wouldn’t mind them stopping by to feed once in while but these birds peck away in relentless fashion with no thought of sharing the food with smaller birds. I added some plastic mesh to the bird table to prevent them perching and reaching the food but to no avail. Still! I am ready for a fresh battle 😀 I will not be defeated by a Woodpigeon!

 

Woodpigeon on bird table by Allison Reid

And so to just a few of the quilty conversations that have caught my attention this week:

Ever been on a quilt shop hop? Karen over at Tu-Na quilt set off to tour the whole of Michigan in 8 days taking in 59 shops and covering 2815 miles in the process – not to mention a Grandson’s baptism! Click here for the opening installment of her Shop Hop tales!

Yvonne Fuchs has released another of her striking quilt patterns. The solid fabrics she used for the featured ‘Wonder’ baby quilt has helped me decide on the colour scheme for a Snoopy quilt commissioned by a friend.

Cynthia challenged herself to use green fabrics. She has created a stunning improv garden quilt.

Allison’s Diagonal Seam Tape is a brilliant idea – helping accuracy and saving time by doing away with all the diagonal lines that usually have to be drawn for half square triangles or snowball corners. In fact the tape is such a great idea that Allison’s initial supplies sold out super fast!

Linking with Alycia for the first Finished or Not Finished Friday 🙂 as she takes on the baton from Myra at Busy Hands Quilts.

Happy Stitching!

Allison

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (56)

Happy Easter! And welcome to a belated Saturday quilting Bring & Share. It’s not too late to bring along our projects and share in some of the news and great inspiration doing the rounds of the Worldwide Quilting Community. Please do click on the links and go find something inspiring. Add your thoughts and links in the comments box at the end of this post. Thank you!

Scrappy Trip Along quilting in progress by Allison ReidMy sewing week was dominated – to the point of obsession – by a self-imposed deadline to finish the Scrappy Trip Along quilt. I wrote a bit about my ‘trial by quilting’ in my previous post. Despite my resolve to enjoy the process I have to confess that I did not find stitching out my chosen patterns very satisfying. I could only see the uneven stitching and the less than smooth curves, I also started fretting about the quilting being too dense, taking away the soft, cuddly feel of the quilt. All-in-all a rather tense week.

I finally finished the free motion quilting on Saturday and turned my attention to the borders. I decided to preserve my sanity and do some simple walking foot quilting. It felt so good just following the zigzag line I’d marked out using a Chaco marker and a triangle ruler 🙂

Read moreSaturday Quilting Bring and Share (56)

Free Motion Quilting – issues of scale and contentment

Well! I’ve made a start free motion quilting my Scrappy Trip Along quilt. I can’t say it’s been plain sailing! Never mind, I’m doing it!

Scrappy Trip Along top with borders by Allison Reid
Scrappy Trip Along quilt top.

I’ve found one of the issues I have with fmq is creating the ‘right’ scale. Ideally I want to achieve a fairly open quilting pattern so the finished quilt will feel soft and drape easily. However I end up with stitching lines closer together than I intend. I think there are two factors playing against my intentions (in addition to lack of skill!):

  1. I’m concentrating on the small section of quilt under the machine foot and bordered by the span of my fairly small hands.
  2. Any lines of stitching behind the needle are obscured by the machine foot and the body of the sewing machine so I sometimes mis-judge how close I am stitching to previous stitching.

The quilters view by Allison Reid

Here is the first feathered swirl I stitched. It measures a much smaller than intended, 6″ long by 5″ wide:

Scrappy Trip Along small feathered swirl by Allison Reid

My second feathered swirls measures a much more satisfactory 13″ long by 9″ wide:

Scrappy Trip Along large feathered swirl by Allison Reid

The second is larger because I drew the curved spine of the feathered swirl onto the quilt using a Chaco marker. I found this simple measure a great help in stitching out a larger, more open, relaxed motif. Not perfect by any means but much nearer to what I’d set out to achieve.

Serendipity and all that….  Teri of TerifiCreations shared a short, encouraging video clip by Angela Walters’ entitled ‘Three Things Quilters Shouldn’t Do‘. It spoke to me at just the right time 🙂 encouraging me to stop doing these things and start enjoying the quilting I am doing!

Finally: A shout out for what a wonderful bunch of people there are inhabiting the Worldwide Quilting Community. This morning I was so fortunate to have Jo Westfoot aka ‘The Crafty Nomad’ come visit me at home to, in typically generous fashion, share her knowledge of the Electric Quilt software. Thanks to Jo I’m now much closer to publishing my first foundation paper pieced pattern 🙂 Her kindness didn’t stop there though! With her encouragement and practical experience I have for the first time submitted a quilt pattern to a magazine! How exciting! As my boys would say, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained!’

Check out Jo’s website, gorgeous patterns, subscription groups and workshops here and let’s keep being thankful for the lovely community built around the craft of patchwork quilting.

I’m off to enjoy some more free motion quilting 🙂

Joining in with Moving it Forward Monday over at Em’s Scrapbag and with Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt.

Allison