Tuesday, 25 May 2010

New Wave Quilt

A few months ago, I discovered Elizabeth Hartman's blog Oh, Fransson! Among her many beautiful quilts and tutorials, I found the fantastic New Wave quilt pattern. With friends expecting a new baby I adapted the pattern for a smaller size and set to work with Heather Bailey's Fresh Cut fabrics. I thought I had plenty of time but Amber was born very early. I finished the quilt at the weekend and it will shortly be on its way to its new home - delivered before Amber was due to make her appearance in the world. I really hope she and her parents will like it.

The front

The back

A close-up of the quilting

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

After a bit of a quilting hiatus over the past couple of years, I have recently come back to it. In the time I've been away, blogs have multiplied dramatically and since my return I have really enjoyed looking at the wonderful quilts (and other crafts) that are being shared on blogs around the globe.

For the Blogger's Quilt Festival, I am sharing this quilt that I made about 4 years ago. It is called "Firestorm", but it may equally remind you of leaves against a crisp autumn sky or coral polyps in shallow tropical seas. It is completely pieced, including the L-shaped thin fuchsia borders which proved a bit of a challenge. Quilting was done in a range of metallic and rayon threads, using a variety of free motion patterns and some couched threads in the dark central patches.

And the story behind the quilt? Not long after I'd met Mr Q, he suggested that I make a blue and orange quilt. I fancied trying my hand at curved piecing and so the two ideas collided. I remember sitting with my Dad, picking out the fabrics together and sewing up some test blocks. Between us we decided on the third fabric selection.

1st attempt

2nd attempt

3rd attempt

I decided to enter the quilt in the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham that year, but plans were derailed when my Dad died very suddenly. Finally, I managed to finish the quilt and it just made the deadline for the Festival - with Mr Q and I speeding along the motorway to Manchester to drop it off at a quilt collection depot with minutes to spare. The final picture is of my Mum and I at the Festival of Quilts in 2006 in front of my quilt! It didn't win any prizes but it was exciting to see it hanging there! It now lives on my office wall at work, where my students often comment on it. Some even ask if they can take it home with them.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The postman rings twice

I'm at home today, working through a stack of marking. It's not my favourite part of being a lecturer, but even dream jobs have their downsides. Happily, the postman chose today to deliver the book I'd ordered - Knits Men Want. As you can see, it's currently on the table waiting patiently until I can escape from the marking long enough for a quick read. I have even made a cup of tea in the hopes that I won't have to wait too long! Just a quick flick through has justified the purchase of this book - simple timeless designs with lots of options for different weights and types of yarn.  I've been thinking of knitting something for Mr Q recently, but he is quite difficult to please and I have struggled to find something he'd like.

I have forayed into "Knitting for Mr Q" territory before, but after the amount of time I spent knitting it, I wish he'd wear it more. The article in question was a stripy jumper from a Jaeger leaflet - that's the image from the book, not my own Mr Q. I made it in the suggested colours, approved by none other than Mr Q himself. He was happy. I was happy. Until a thoughtless friend flung a spanner in the works with just 6 small words uttered within earshot of Mr Q. "It's a good job he's colourblind". Well, his confidence in wearing the multicoloured stripes was destroyed. He was convinced that the whole world was laughing at him. I hope Knits Men Want will help repair some of the damage.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Can you spare a minute?

Monday was a public holiday and Mr Q and I (together with my visiting sister) took the opportunity of visiting a National Trust property - Erddig in North Wales. It was very busy but very enjoyable. I particularly liked some over-the-top Chinese wallpaper in the one of the bedrooms and I think my sister's favourite bit was lunch in the restaurant! The gardens were beautiful too. They included the most perfect apple blossom on some of the oldest apple trees I've ever seen.