Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (238)

Welcome to the first Saturday Quilting Bring & Share of 2021. As always bring along your project(s) and share in the kindness and inspiration being made available to us by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Please do join in by leaving a message in the comments box at the bottom of this page and of any pages you click to visit 🙂

I hope you have found physical rest and peace of mind over the holiday period, ready to start the New Year with reserves of resilience built up for the next few difficult months. January 1st definitely had a ‘Groundhog Day’ feel to it as we woke to the continuation of social distancing restrictions. We put the Christmas tree and decorations away today. I should have kept hold of a couple of strings of fairy lights – they have been very comforting, bringing a sparkle to the long Winter evenings.

Leading up to end of 2020 I had quite a flurry of finishes with three projects completed in less than four weeks! Today I’m deliberately slowing my pace, reuniting myself with the little needle turn applique project I took on our holiday in July. The fabric is a bit crumpled but all the supplies are together and ready to use. The pattern, Basket of Blooms, by Jo Avery is available as a download from The Quilters’ Guild Pattern Box.

Have you been reviewing 2020 or setting goals for 2021? I spent New Years Day working through the opening sections of a Planner and tidying my paperwork. I was given a desk tidy for Christmas. It’s a handy size for picking up and carrying all the essentials with me as I move my desk-work around the house in order to keep in touch with the variable internet signal and my need for space.

I’m afraid I have been very remiss in keeping up with reading blog posts over the past two weeks…. I’m just about to dive into the 198 email notifications residing in my inbox … amongst all the New Year sales alerts I’m sure there are plenty of nuggets of gold well worth a click and a read… 😀

…. Sometime later… 79 emails remain unopened but as it’s nearly time for bed I will stop reading so I can publish this post on a Saturday (a bench mark moment for 2021!).

Here are the links I’ve selected from the abundance of holiday season posts published by far more diligent bloggers than myself:

A bit late for Christmas (my fault) but Sonia’s reusable gift bag could be made in fabrics to suit any occasion. The tutorial is available on her blog.

Alyce says ‘There’s Only 3 Tools You Need for Free Motion Quilting’. She does add a ‘can do attitude’ to her short list of supplies, I wonder if you would add anything else to the list?

(Don’t forget you can sign up for the Confident & Joyful Free Motion Quilting course at Jo Westfoot’s Online Sewing School – closing date 8th January!).

Having finished my Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2020 quilt BEFORE the end of the year I am minded to join in the 2021 challenge. I mean even after making a quilt that measures 60″ x 72″ I still have a heaps of fabric scraps to use up… Find out more about this years Rainbow Scrap Challenge here. The colour for January is pink and I’m thinking of rummaging through my box of string scraps 🙂

 

 

Is vintage thread a good bet for quilting? Rebecca has gathered interesting information on the shelf-life of threads and how best to store your precious spools.

The Best of 2020 link up hosted by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs has produced a wonderful quilt exhibition and treasure trove of tutorials and patterns from all those who have taken part posting their own ‘top five’ of 2020. Well worth a visit. Click through the links and you could imagine yourself walking through a quilt exhibition (remember those?).

Happy Stitching!

Allison

Ending 2020 with a Patchwork Rainbow

I’m happy to have my first Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt finished in the year I began making it – just! The monthly hunt though a box of scraps of the prescribed colour gave me a sense of making progress through the topsy-turvy year of 2020. The simple nine patch blocks fit together in a 10 x 12 layout measuring 60″ x 66″. The backing is an extra wide text print and I created the label in my usual fashion using a computer print out, light box and permanent marker.

I stitched two sides of the label into the binding and finished the project by hand stitching the remaining two edges to the quilt back. The binding fabric is from the Solstice range by Sally Kelly @sallykellyfabric . I felt I was committing a crime by cutting this beautiful fabric into binding strips but the rainbow of colours on a dark blue background make it just perfect for the quilt!

In the end I chose to echo quilt a gentle curve across the quilt following the flow of the patchwork pattern. The echoes are 2½” apart so the quilt drapes well and feels cuddly 🙂 I used three different colours of Aurifil 40wt threads – 2314 across the yellow & orange sections; 2520 across the red, purple & blue sections; and 2902 across the aqua & green sections.

My final quilt of 2020 🙂 It feels appropriate to have ended with a rainbow, symbol of hope in the Bible, and a natural phenomena which moves us to look up in wonder. Before Christmas I shared thoughts on Advent as a season of waiting. The sense of waiting continues with the transition from this year to the next bringing few tangible changes. This morning I read a reflection by Mark Meynell* which included the thought that there are two types of waiting: passive ‘rainy day’ waiting; and active ‘house-guest’ waiting. I’m going to make a conscious effort to make my ‘stay at home’ Tier 4 existence a time of active waiting. Not necessarily making quilts (although there’s bound to be some sewing room action!) but a time of expectant waiting. Instead of staring at the rain and wishing it would stop I intend to be preparing for when the sun breaks through a gap in the clouds and a rainbow arcs overhead.

Rather than wishing you ‘Happy New Year’ (which may sound hollow to some and wishful thinking to others) I will instead go back to the theme of Advent: a sure hope in the promise of everlasting light that can never be extinguished by the darkness. Two thousand years ago John wrote with confidence, ‘… the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining’. Jesus is the name of that light and He’s still shining! Amen

Allison

* Mark Meynell, Colossians & Philemon For You, The Good Book Company

A thousand piece rainbow quilt

I hope your Christmas has been a peaceful time, perhaps even an opportunity to embrace different ways of gathering and celebrating. Our Christmas moved on from Plan C to Plan D as our daughter and S-I-L were plunged into Tier 4 restrictions – no mixing of households, no travelling. We hoped to have my parents share Christmas Day with us, then we heard the new Covid strain was indeed ‘going viral’ and we too would be in Tier 4 as from Boxing Day. So we played it safe, keeping households apart, and celebrated at home just the three of us. We were so grateful for a live-streamed Church Service in the morning and access to family via the internet.

No guests this Christmas meant my intentions to tidy my sewing room and convert it into a guest room could be set aside. I did a bit of tidying and sorting after finishing the Dashing Stars quilt last weekend. The Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt was the obvious next project. The blocks were up on the design wall and slowly through the week I pieced the quilt top together. Some days I just didn’t have the heart for sewing, trying to absorb the increasingly severe restrictions being broadcast from Downing Street and the resulting changes to our plans just left my head too full.

But by Boxing Day the quilt top was complete. I spent upwards of half an hour pressing all the seams – what a job! The quilt top measures 60″ by 66″ and I calculate (well my calculator calculates!) there are 1,080 two inch squares! I’m calling the quilt ‘Thousand Piece Rainbow’. I had a two metre length of Michael Miller ‘Calligraphy’ extra-wide backing in my stash and plenty of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 wadding to make up the quilt sandwich. There was just enough space on the kitchen floor to centre the layers.

Next task will be pin basting. I will use my walking foot to stitch out a quilting design. I’m not yet decided on the actual pattern. Maybe a wavy grid to follow the wave of changing colour in the patchwork or a diamond grid to overlay the patchwork design… There’ll be plenty of time to ponder the choices while I’m basting.

The label is prepared and I’ve made the binding strip, I’m wondering if I can finish this years Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt before the end of the year? Are you challenging yourself for a final finish for 2020 or maybe doing the opposite by enjoying the opportunity to relax into sewing mode with no goals in mind?

This isn’t a Saturday Quilting Bring & Share post and I sure do have a LOT of blog reading to catch up on but here are a few links I’d like to share 🙂

Alyce has shared an encouraging post about free motion quilting and how to break through five common myths that could hold us back from using this skill to enhance our patchwork.

Jo Westfoot aka the Crafty Nomad has launched her on-line sewing school. Her in-person workshops are great so I’m sure her new easily accessible classes will be informative and a lot of fun. The latest course to be launched, ‘Confident & Joyful Free Motion Quilting‘ takes participants beyond the anxieties of starting free motion quilting with a series of four step-by-step tutorials designed to grow knowledge and skills.

And Jasmeen is offering free tutorials sharing her love of needle turn applique. She is extremely skilful and wonderfully calm. A bit of slow stitching may be just what’s needed as we wait for 2021 to shake off the troubles of 2020. The series of video and written tutorials begins on 1st January.

Thank you for following my blog posts through the past year. All things being equal Saturday Quilting Bring & Share should return on 2nd January. I might even sneak in another post before then if I make significant progress on the RSC quilt 🙂

Allison

 

A quilt finish and a bonus cushion cover

An odd mixture of emotions today as we emptied the loft of stored Christmas decorations and absorbed the latest guidelines and rules issued by the UK’s Prime Minister. Very strange to think that maybe no one outside of our little ‘household bubble’ will step into the house to see the tree and decorations. But how fortunate we are to be a three, knowing that other members of our family are not alone in their homes either and hopeful that all can remain safe and well until the virus is finally brought under control.

Trying to take a positive slant: the social restrictions already in place have led to much more time being spent at home in the run up to Christmas than in previous years. No end of year lunches or get-togethers getting me out of the house has meant more time to sew in December than I can ever remember! I have two finishes to share. Firstly, the cushion cover I made to test a pattern.

Made from stash fabrics chosen to coordinate with our living room sofas. The cushion cover is 18″ square and has a simple envelope opening.

The second finish is my fifth version of the Beginners Course pattern, Dashing Stars. I used the background fabric to create a narrow 2″ border to give (I hope) the effect of the blocks floating across the quilt top.

I enjoyed hand stitching the binding – it’s just the right time of year to have a cosy quilt draped across my lap. I am very fond of Dashing Stars (5). It combines my go-to saturated Autumn colours with my growing partiality for text print fabrics. All the fabrics were purchased at Purple Stitches. The text fabric is an extra wide background cotton. I used the remainder for the pieced backing.

I used Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 wadding and stitched a 2½” wide diamond grid across the quilt. I’m very happy with how it looks and feels – super soft and cuddly 🙂

No quilt is complete without a label! This label is part of the pieced backing.

Linking these finishes with Wendy for the Peacock Party and Michelle for the Beauties Pageant. Wendy is sharing photos of three of her Christmas quilts – the close ups of the felt applique are worth a peak 😉 – and Michelle has used an old pattern with fabric from her stash to make a quick quilt and gain a sense of achievement 🙂

I do hope you are able overcome any disappointments the Covid restrictions may have brought your way. Our public health officials are hopeful the measures taken now and the vaccination programme being rolled out will give us the opportunity to enjoy social contact with family and friends by the end of Spring. ‘Waiting’ and ‘looking forward’ are certainly themes that resonate powerfully in Advent 2020.

Allison