Monday, 24 June 2019

Have you heard of Bertha?

I stumbled across a pretty quilt recently, a reworked version of an old quilt. So-o-o- my latest project is to make Bertha Mitchell’s Cumbrian Triangles Quilt.
I'm using * Deb McGuire's free pattern, it's an interpretation of The Quilters' Guild Museum Collection Bertha Mitchell Cumbrian Triangles Quilt from 1899, which she's remade in British fabrics by UK fabric designers working today. 

* "The original quilt was made in Cumbria in 1899 by Bertha Mitchell. This is one of two quilts in the Guild Collection made by Bertha Mitchell for her sister Elizabeth's wedding in 1899. The two quilts were then passed on through the family to celebrate another three generations of marriage, until the quilt was donated to Collection in 2005. What interesting lives these quilts have lived?
Bertha Mitchell was a seamstress who worked at Keswick Boarding school, sewing repairs to clothing. She married late in life to a widowed brother-in-law." 

The original quilt {on the L)hand side of the above pic} is indeed perfectly imperfect, but I'm aiming for slightly more of a regular grid. 
It's a scrap friendly quilt, charmingly wonky, in a pretty colour palette of pinks, red, and blues. The simple HST layout works easily if there's a good contrast between the lights and darks. Along with a healthy dose of plaids, I'm also adding in a few solids, always good for contrast, and one random large floral print {which may or maynot work, we shall see}.

I have played with HST's lots of times, see back here to a quilt I made in March 2015, with a scattered value layout just like this one. Only that quilt was real scrappy colourwise, and this one's using more of a controlled palette, but both do require focusing on the lights & darks, and not the pretty fabrics.

Yayee, that's all the prep work done, onto making a zillion more HST's now

* The photo & info about Bertha from Deb's quilt pattern have been reposted with permission.The original permissions for the photographs are from The Quilters’ Guild Museum Collection. You can see Bertha's quilt and over 7,000 other items from British quilting past and present in The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles collection if you follow this link here -

* And you can find Deb here on ig or over at Deb from plainstitch - her post here about the Bertha Mitchell Quilt is such an interesting read.

Until next time, Linda

Saturday, 22 June 2019

improv by numbers

I ended up taking a little sewing break because, well, I just didn't feel like sewing! Back into it this weekend though, with more fun progress on my 'long distance' quilt. The quilt pattern is a beautiful  boro inspired quilt designed by Anna Maria Horner using the entire selection of @ccerruti Long Distance fabric collection, hence the quilt name.

While I love the lush colours of the original quilt, I went for a slightly different look, based on what I had here in my stash. I added in a few new prints from AMH's Second Nature collection which mixed in beautifully with some of my other older AMH fabrics.
At times, my stash seems to me to be top heavy in florals, so this time I also tried to add in a good mix of floral plus abstract too.

And I enjoyed this approach to improv, the pattern instructions were easy to follow with each piece is listed with a column-patch number, such as A-1, B-2 etc to help with orientation. 

While this looks 'scrappy' I spent some considerable time trying to get some cohesion with my fabric choices, and I found repetition of fabrics helped. Here's a pic of my 'design floor' getting the last column cut out (on the right) and assembled . . .

I've just loved taking this pattern and making it my own with personal choices. It's ended up a square quilt, 60" x 60" but there is ample opportunity to increase/decrease the size if you wanted to. Love those little extra bright patches that float across the top are stitched down to add a lovely handmade touch. I've got a couple more to hand stitch down and then it's ready for the 'to be quilted' pile.

Linking up with Wendy for this weekend's "Peacock Party" here
and with Cynthia for 'oh scrap' over here
Off now to tidy the sewing room, until next time, Linda

Monday, 17 June 2019

more questions than answers

Some time ago my friend Glenys was given a shoebox of hexagons. The fabrics were from years back, some had a chintz texture, others cotton, and one or two were made from a heavier fabric. A box of hexis like these could easily spend their life unfinished.

Oh my, what to do? It's not like Glenys knew the lady who had made all these, so she doesn't feel any emotional connection.  And we’ll never be sure what the original quilt maker had in mind when she started making these. But can Glenys just throw all this hard work away? Could you?

Let's have a closer look  . . .

Did whoever piece these have a colour palette in mind?
They were certainly arranged in careful colour groupings in the shoebox

And what was going on here with all that double stitching?
Was she an EPP beginner? 
These are going to prove problematical when it comes to pulling the papers out, aren't they?

She used this viewing template for her fussy cutting, 
it was see-through thick plastic edged in painted black . . .

Was she going for a wonderful full-on scrappy hexi quilt?

And why did she stop making them?

And all this has got me thinking!
I'm wondering if maybe some of Glenys' hexis could be used for upcycling on other projects or some fabric collage maybe, see here. I found a few other ideas in Blair's book here, and Jessica from quiltyhabit has some excellent ideas on using up your stash, stuff you've now become uninspired with, maybe it's excess and/or leftover stash, but you bought it and you want to use it up.

While moving house, I did start to get a bit ruthless when it came to my fabric stash & half finished WiPs. I couldn't store it all, and I had fallen 'out of love' with some of the ideas and fabric pulls I had for future quilts. So some of it was actually chucked out, and a couple of bags of fabric bits & pieces went to Glenys - given to the right person, who knows what could happen with your leftovers. And, I also set aside some larger pieces of fabric to make up into future scrappy quilt backings.

I'm sure many of us have a little collection of hexis tucked away in our sewing rooms, or the beginnings of a quilty idea, or maybe a bunch of leftovers from other projects, or dated fabric, etc that we need to either use or sort out.

But my last question is this . . . what do you do with those now unwanted, unfinished projects?

Thursday, 30 May 2019

a week of stitching

It's been a week of stitching . . . hand stitching that is.

First up, I have a finish to share, my 'chamomile quilt'. I spent a bit of time yesterday hand stitching down the binding.

If you have ever wondered about sending your quilt away to a machine longarm quilter, there are certainly some pluses in doing so. This quilt was big, too big for me to wrestle with on my domestic sewing machine. And all that negative space was just crying out for some special icing. And, there's a lovely sense of collaboration & celebration in working with others. . .  so I sent my quilt off to Leeanne from quiltmekiwi for some quilting magic, et voilĂ  . . .

And the rest of my time was spent doing some extra hand stitching on my 'long distance' quilt. Before stitching all my three pieced columns together, I needed to get the fans stitched down and then I used some simple sashiko stitches to secure those special little extra floating bright patches.

I'm using completely different fabrics to the original design, and happily, I was able to use fabrics mainly from my stash. It's all part of my latest mission, "exploring" my stash and making the most of the fabrics I already have, and popping in a few new favourites to keep things interesting.
And this great improv pattern was ideal, my large scale floral prints work so well here and it all goes together quite quickly too.

- until next time

Friday, 17 May 2019

making progress

Here's a few progress photos of my scrappy 'long distance' quilt . . .

- adding a pale dresden fan into the mix

It's all still very precariously pinned up on the design wall for now . . . hoping the grandchildren don't decide to do a reshuffle for me over the weekend. One more column to make up and then there's those special little extra floating bright patches to hand stitch down with some simple sashiko stitches.  Linking up with Wendy for this weeks 'peacock party' over here at wendysquiltsandmore

Until next time, Linda

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

long distance quilt

Oops. I started something new.

I'm finding this 'long distance' quilt is a simple way to tackle improvisational patchwork. It's a recent PDF pattern that I purchased and downloaded from thenextstitch in Australia, combining Courtney Cerruti's Long Distance fabric collection with AMH's creativity . . . love the way Anna crosses over between patchwork & art in her patterns.

It's made up in three 20"wide patchwork columns, comprising of easy-to-piece geometric shapes, ending up as 60" x 60" finished quilt. I'm using quite a different colour palette and fabrics to the original quilt, my choices are based on a fabric pull I had made using my stash.

I've cut out all the fabric choices for my first column, trying to make this scrappy and yet cohesive at the same time. It's ended up longer than my design wall, but you can see where I'm heading, and I think it's looking okay so far.

Loving adding these little bright patches. They float over the background of the whole quilt, and are hand stitched in place, leaving raw edges exposed for that yummy handmade touch.

Linking up my progress pics this week 
with Kelly over here at myquiltinfatuation for 'needleandthreadThursday'.

Looks like Wendy from 'Wendy'squiltsandmore' is also having a play too with another of AMH's latest quilts, follow the link for a peep. It's the beautiful 'Portraits' quilt, showcasing fabrics from Chapter 2 of Conservatory by Courtney Cerruti @ccerruti , Nathalie Lete @nathalie_lete and Anna Maria Horner @annamariahorner .