Thursday, 11 September 2014

Continuous bias binding

Have you ever wondered how to cut your own bias binding?  Since taking up patchwork I knew it was something I needed to learn for binding my quilts, but I was really worried about where to start.  As usual, when faced with a problem like this, YouTube often has the answer.  I found a great 2-part video tutorial that teaches you how to create yards of bias binding by starting with a square of fabric.  Needless to say I had to give it a try, and it worked - I am the proud owner of 3 lengths of bias binding made entirely by me.  The tutorial was made by a woman called Marian Drain and her YouTube channel is called CuddleTime Quilts.  If you've ever wanted to make bias binding but were too scared to try in case you got it wrong then this technique is for you.  As you can test the instructions on a fairly small square there's no risk of wasting valuable fabric - try it out on a 12.5" square of something you don't mind risking.  I used some hand dyed cotton that hadn't come out as I'd hoped, but that would make ideal binding if my experiment worked, but that wouldn't be a big deal if I messed up.  It worked a treat, and the next step is to test it out to make piping.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Equipped to quilt

My black cotton sheeting fabric has arrived, and I've decided that it is the best option for backing the wedding quilt.  I've just spent the last 10 minutes clearing the dining room table, with hubby's help, so that I can start creating the quilt sandwiches. I will need to watch Candy Glendenning's video tutorial again, and probably several times, before I start using her quilt-as-you-go technique.  We were lucky enough to have a fantastic sale of wonderful quilting cotton on Saturday at a nearby village hall, by Doughty's fabrics, hosted by the local Quilter's Guild. I've decided to join the Quilter's Guild, as well as the Embroiderer's Guild, as everyone was so friendly.  I'm also hoping the patchwork class is going to run at the adult learning centre in Morpeth, as I would like to learn new skills, and have the opportunity to finish the Japanese squares quilt with some supervision and guidance.

Craftsy is a great way to learn new skills, and I particularly like a class called Improvisational Piecing, Modern Design with Jacquie Gering.  My head is full of design ideas after watching that set of video tutorials.  I think I probably have enough fabric to make at least 2 more quilts, using a mix of commercial designs and my own hand dyed cotton.

I also have a good set of quilter's rulers for cutting fabric, and squaring up blocks.  Accurate cutting is very important for patchwork, particularly if following a specific pattern.  Crazy patchwork allows for cutting strips at angles, but the blocks still need to be cut into appropriate sizes, and the seam allowance edges need nice straight lines for stitching along.

There will be photos to follow, when more of the quilt has been constructed.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

September already!

I can't believe that it's September already.  There's been so much happening that time just flies, including a few days of feeling grotty to slow me down.  

As I wrote in my last post I now have a lovely Brinkley loom to work on, and I have quite a few ideas for things I want to weave.  

I've also been getting on with the patchwork quilt wedding gift for my cousin.  It is now taking shape nicely.  I've sewn all the blocks into columns, and I'm adding a border to make it a bit bigger.  I'm also contemplating adding some strips between the columns to make it wider.  This is how it's shaping up at the moment:

I spread it out on my bed to give me an idea of how it looks, as I don't have the luxury of a quilt wall.  I'm trying to work out how to make a DIY quilt wall for designing with completed blocks.  It would certainly make getting  the blocks into the best arrangement much easier.  I'm also working on a quilt design with Japanese print fabrics from a workshop I did at The Quilter's Cupboard in Langley Moor, County Durham, last weekend.  It's quite complex for a beginner like me, with prairie points forming a border around a frame!  In order to get some help I've put my name down for an NCFE level one patchwork class at the local adult learning centre - fingers crossed that the class has enough students to go ahead.  If not, the tutor for the workshop is available at the shop for assistance every Wednesday.  I don't have pictures of my progress on that one, but I did manage to complete two rows.

I'm now waiting for the fusible batting (wadding) to arrive.  I want to try a "quilt as you go" technique by a quilter called Candy Glendening.  The tutorial can be found via her blog - http://www.candiedfabrics.com - and I need to decide on the backing before I can start quilting it.  I'm torn between a plain black backing and an improvisational pieced crazy quilt backing.  Craftsy have a great class called "Improvisational Piecing, Modern Design" with a tutor called Jacquie Gering.  I watched the whole thing in one sitting, and got lots of ideas from it.

College will be starting in a couple of weeks, so I'm excited about what new skills I'll learn there.  September also includes my 50th birthday, so I'm looking forward to a great month.