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 & Share (32)

Welcome to Saturday Bring & Share, a virtual sewing day. Bring along your project and share in the latest news and views from the worldwide quilty community. You are very welcome to share links to your latest project or any of the quilty conversations that have caught your interest through the the past week. Just leave your thoughts and links in the comments box at the end of this page. Oh! And don’t forget to use the subscribe box to ensure you receive email notifications whenever I publish a blog post. Thank you!

I’ve managed a better balance between sewing machine and lap top this week. The lap top has mainly been used to add fresh items to my ETSY shop. Writing product information takes a surprisingly long time – and editing the product photos takes even longer! For the first time I’ve added some fabrics to my shop items. I’m in de-clutter mode at the moment – I think it is the changing season that has brought this about as Summer clothing and outdoor furniture is put away and Winter garments and occupations begin to take over. So even the sewing room has had a little declutter. It’s been good to finally give up some fabrics that I’d bought for projects I no longer have the time or motivation to pursue.

It’s been satisfying to do some sewing. I’m in the early stages of preparing a new workshop, ‘Using Up Scraps’. One of the techniques I’m planning to teach is crazy patchwork. Up till now I’ve only ever created crazy patchwork by using a stitch and flip method on a foundation fabric. Earlier in the Summer I was inspired by a friend to purchase a roll of stiffening material called In-R-Form by Bosal (although most sewists in the UK seem to be calling it by the manufacturers name rather than by the mouthful ‘In-R-Form’!). My friend bought her Bosal from Empress Mills and told me about the website’s link to a bag making You Tube video. I had to smile when I got home, found the website and clicked on the link only to find Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company with Vanessa aka ‘Crafty Gemini’ making a tote bag using a Jelly Roll and Bosal. What a fun pairing those ladies are! Anyway that got me thinking to try making a basket using Bosal decorated with crazy patchwork.

Bosal basket by Allison Reid

I cut a piece of Bosal, 9″ x 12″, and covered one side with crazy patchwork. It was very easy to stitch through the Bosal and it has created a firm but flexible basket. Unfortunately I made a bit of a boo-boo in choosing to make the basket fairly small. Once I’d made the lining I realised the side seams were less than four inches long. Of course I need to leave an opening in one of the seams to be able to turn the bag the right way out once the lining is stitched to the outer. But I think that opening needs to be at least three inches long in order to squish the flexible but bulky Bosal through the gap. Hum! I will have another go at making a basket but this time increase the size by a few inches…

Candover Village Hall by Allison Reid

We have been blessed with a few days of Summer in Autumn, clear blue skies and warm sunshine. On Thursday I was able to join friends at our  monthly sewing day out in the beautiful Candover Valley, Hampshire. We meet in a village hall/come cricket pavilion next to the Victorian Church of St Peter. What a wonderful setting – so peaceful (well! apart from our chatter and the whir of sewing machines!). We took our lunches out onto the patio overlooking the cricket ground, basking in the sunshine, listening to the birds and just enjoying the treat of a warm day so late in September.

Candover Cricket Ground by Allison Reid

St Peter's Brown Candover by Allison ReidFarm House Brown Candover by Allison Reid

Before lunch I worked on my contribution to Roundabout Quilters’ raffle quilt. We will each make a house or tree block (final size 12″ square) which in the New Year will all be joined quilt-as-you-go style ready for the publicity shots for our group exhibition next September. I have pinned my block into it’s quilt sandwich and intend to add the quilting stitches this weekend.

House Block by Allison Reid

After that lovely sunny lunch I went back into the hall and worked on another project. I made more half square triangles using some of my stash of Civil War reproduction fabrics. The rich, earthy colours of these fabrics are well suited to the rapid shift from bright Summer to golden Autumn that is taking place all around us. I’d like to arrange these HSTs into blocks and stitch them together over the weekend.

Civil War HSTs by Allison Reid

As usual there have been a whole host of interesting and inspiring blog posts to read over the past week or so. Here are just a few of the ones I have enjoyed and hope you will too:

Shannon has written an encouraging blog post to get us over our fears of modifying and creating quilt patterns. She included a link to a quilting calculator app by Robert Kaufman. How handy is that? 🙂

Christa Watson has taken her quilt design process back a stage and has been designing fabrics. In this post she has lots of photos to show how a fabric design sketched on a piece of paper evolves into a real bolt of fabric. Fascinating!

I’m always on the look out for sewing room makeovers and Irene has posted the latest changes she has made to her sewing space – re-purposing IKEA units and other furniture from around her home. Ingenious and practical!

Now put your feet up and hug a cup of something warm while you read and feast your eyes on Christa’s lovely post about her recent teaching trip to Tasmania and Adelaide, Australia. She took her family and they look to have a lot of fun.

Linking with Myra for Finished or Not Friday.

Have a great weekend. Happy stitching.

Allison

 

 

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (21)

A warm welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Do bring along a project to this virtual sewing day and share in the conversations picked up through the week. Add your links in the comments section or use the linky button at the bottom of the page.
Well! I’m still going through the Groundhog Day experience with my quilting projects. This week my diary has been fairly empty so I have put in quite a lot of quilting hours. The beginners quilt is stitched out and my project for today is to add the binding. I think I will stitch it to the front of the quilt and hand stitch it down on the back – I don’t want to machine stitch the binding down both sides and have a line of stitching cut through my precious feathers!
Beginners 5 by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
Carrie Nation Variation design by New Every Morning Patchwork & QuiltingI’ve completed all the feathers on the larger quilt top and now need to free motion an orange peel pattern through the small, coloured squares before reverting to my walking foot for a straight line design in the borders…
I have to confess I am feeling a bit frazzeled as the quilting process on these two projects goes on and on and on… I am having to battle against my perfectionist expectations the whole time. I’m really feeling the need to retreat back into my comfort zone for a project or two before my confidence hits rock bottom. I’ve added extra expectations on myself by entering the large ‘Carrie Nation Variation’ quilt into The Festival of Quilts. Not only do I have the postal deadline of 27th July looming in my mind but I’m also painfully aware that people will be looking at my quilt and finding all the imperfections. I know: we are our own harshest critics. I’m going to the National Quilt Championships at Sandown next week and I’m really looking forward to looking around the exhibits. I won’t be getting up close to quilts trying to spot inconsistencies in stitch size or missed points etc. I’ll be standing back lost in admiration, figuring out how the colours and design work to give the overall effect, noticing how a narrow border in a surprising but well chosen colour brings a whole quilt together… I know I should allow that the majority of quilters who stop to look at my quilt at the Festival of Quilts will be doing the same 🙂
How do you get through a desire for perfection, settling for the reality of where your abilities and skills lie? I found this post by Chris, who describes her/himself to be a ‘recovering perfectionist’. There is a list of questions for perfectionist quilters to ponder. According to an on-line Perfectionism Test I have a ‘healthy level’ of perfectionism but some of it is a bit  misdirected or inconsistent. Oh! My Gosh! Now even my score in a perfectionism test isn’t perfect! Agghhh! Reaches for soothing chocolate and then regrets imperfect willpower and physical shortcomings…..!!!!!!
Lets get away from this introspection and enjoy some of the quilty conversations going on this week 🙂
Melva has an occasional series on her blog called ‘Quilters Through the Generations’. This link takes us to an interview with Stephanie Collins. It’s well worth a read and a look at just a few of the lovely quilts she and her quilting Grandmother have made.
Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs is preparing to run a quilt-along with an original design called ‘Modern Plus Sampler‘ . She shows the quilt in a blue colourway and I think the design would really suit a young man – maybe a quilt to take to university or a graduation gift?
On Tuesday evening I went to a very enjoyable meeting of my local quilt group, Roundabout Quilters, Basingstoke. Yvonne McAtamney the owner of Village Fabrics, Wallingford was our guest speaker. Of course she is very knowledgeable about patchwork and quilting and gave us some good tips about choosing colours but she really lit up when she shared her passion for all things Japanese – designs and fabrics. We were all captivated by her unique Japanese themed quilts and the beautiful Sashiko stitching that embellishes them. Yvonne is about to launch her latest Japanese BOM – check out the Village Fabrics newsletter for details.
A newsletter from another local quilt group, North Hampshire Quilters, has information about plans for the first ever quilt show to be held in India. I’ve read articles in quilt magazines about antique and modern textiles and sewing in India but hadn’t considered there never having been a quilt exhibition in such a large, highly populated country. Find out more here.
Happy stitching 🙂
Allison


Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (18)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share 🙂 Bring along the project you are working on and share the blog post conversations, tutorials or quilty news that has caught your interest through the week. You can use the comment section or the linky button at  the bottom of this page to join in this virtual sewing day.
This weekend my projects are all about quilting. I’ll be guiding the three members of the Beginners Course through basting a quilt sandwich and first steps in machine quilting. My version of the beginners quilt will come in handy as a quilting demonstration model. Back in my sewing room I’m feeling hopeful as I prepare to quilt feather designs on this rather large quilt. I keep drawing feather designs in different shaped spaces – squares, triangles waiting for ‘muscle-memory’ to work it’s magic.
Carrie Nation Variation by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
More conversations this week to make up for the rather quiet post last week:
Bella has given an informative tutorial adding tiny pleats across the width of curtains. The linen curtains look so amazing with light streaming through the windows of Bella’s newly refurbished kitchen 🙂
Soma explains how she uses colours from nature to inspire her fabric selection. Her photos and the lovely foundation paper pieced block are inspiration in themselves.
Abby Glassenbury always has her finger on the pulse re. craft business and she’s been keeping a close eye on the changes going on at Etsy in the year since the new CEO has been running the company. She gives a robust response to Josh Silverman’s assertion that, “Our sellers want to spend their time making and serving customers. They don’t want to spend their time being business people.” 
I will be recommending Sarah Goer’s machine binding tutorial to my Beginners Course students when we move on to binding our quilts in June.
Settle down with a mug of coffee and watch this super-informative video by Leah Day called ‘How Do I Quilt It? How to plan your quilting design with Leah Day‘. She uses computer prints of a medallion style quilt, drawing pencil lines to show how it could be custom quilted, given an all-over quilting design or be given a great look by varying the directions of straight line quilting.
Leanne, the Devoted Quilter, is a Christian and a quilter. Her devotional blog posts always hold to Biblical truths and present a challenge to grow in faith. This devotional post entitled ‘Stronger‘ is no exception.
Anita is hosting a quilt along using Elizabeth Hartman’s Greenhouse pattern. The quilt along begins on Wednesday 30th May. This is the link to Anita’s getting prepared post. Quilt-a-longs (QALs) can be a great way to keep motivation and there are usually some handy hints and an opportunity to see the progress of other participants as the project moves forward.
Jayne has written a lovely blog post sharing her experience of speaking at a quilt guild. She is so right to point out that quilters are a friendly welcoming bunch, interested in each other’s projects and creations.
Finally, baby birds in abundance at the moment. When the Starlings come into my garden it’s all noise and bustle! Earlier in the week we visited a bird reserve on the south coast. My husband took photos of a large, sleepy Tawny Owl chick and an Avocet with three tiny chicks.

Happy stitching.
Allison