Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scraps and shirttails

First of all - I'm not going to apologise for shamelessly pinching the title of Bonnie from Quiltville's recently published book to head this particular post.

It is actually rather apt as first of all she was the person who originally hit my blogging radar screen and ultimately inspired me to start blogging myself.

And secondly it's also quite appropriate as one particular quilt of hers - 'Blue Ridge Beauty' - is the inspiration for my latest creation - but more of that later on.........

First of all I'll give you a quick peek at the latest photo of my three taken on our recent visit to Stourhead.

Sarah, in the middle, is not impressed that her 'little' brother, who's overtaken her in height, suggested a photo taken in height order rather than chronological order. Mind you both of them are taller than me with the little one catching me up all too quickly. It would appear I'm destined to be the shrimp of the household.

And here are my parents on the same trip out - they have settled in so well down here it makes me wish we'd moved them years ago. What would it be like to have a back garden big enough to accomodate that seat! Sadly I'm not sure I could fit it into my pocket to sneak it home with me though.

So back to those shirttails.

Recently Jane has made a start on an applique quilt made from an assortment of plaids

I'm a great charity shop visitor and here in Taunton we have a Barnardos shop which sells all items of clothing for 99p each - much cheaper than the other shops in town where you can easily pay four times that for a cotton shirt. So I often pop in and pick up men's shirts to supplement my plaid collection.

With the variety of shirtings I had gathered together foremost in my mind, I offered to send a selection to Jane to help bolster the variety needed for her quilt.

She very kindly sent me some neutrals for backgrounds and contrasts in exchange - I seem to go through yards and yards of WOW, COC and all other sands, beiges and creams - it would seem this particular girl can never have too much neutral fabric so her contribution is most gratefully received.

Once I'd completed the Jewel Box in the last post I thought I'd have a go at another 4 Patch/HST confection as they grow so quickly using Bonnie's Leaders and Enders theory. This time, however, I thought I'd use different block placements and decided to make it solely from plaid/striped shirtings and neutrals. That way, when Nick heads off to University in a few years time, there will be a slightly more masculine quilt waiting for him to take if he wants one.

This of course is where the design for Bonnie's lovely quilt 'Blue Ridge Beauty' makes an entry.

I've become hooked on scrappy now in a big way - as you can see from this photo the variety of plaid and striped shirtings is pretty extensive and it really doesn't matter at all where they sit, they all play so nicely together.

And here we are with the centre 36 blocks assembled.

I'm having so much fun piecing and seeing the underlying pattern emerge that I can't see myself getting bored in the near future - bet you never thought you'd hear me say that!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Progress on two fronts

In and amongst a very busy few weeks - auditors (we passed with flying colours - hurray), university viewings with Sarah (UWE at Bristol is favourite so far - although it didn't stop us trecking up to Sheffield and back one Sunday), trying to puzzle out the first months financial reconciliation with the new computer system (only over two months late through no fault of mine - don't ask!!!), usual ferrying kids here and there etc etc etc - there has been some creative output

Firstly the jewel box quilt has now grown to a 5 x 5 layout - the photo only shows 4 x 5 but you'll just have to trust me that the last row's been attached - Sarah has decided that she'd like to claim this one when it's finished to take away with her as a sofa throw when she goes to university in September 2010 - that gives me a little time to decide whether to add borders and then to quilt it.

I've so enjoyed putting this one together that I'm carrying on making 4patches and HSTs in neutrals and shirtings to make a second quilt with a slightly different layout - more of that next time - plus I've not got the jewel box pattern out of my system yet either and I have it in mind to do another but with 3" units instead of 4" and in batiks with a single salt wash batik fabric for the background in a beige/mushroom shade of which I have a good four or five yards in my stash. So if anyone wants to swap fabrics and send me some dark or bright batiks I'd love to trade for material of your choice or a little Bebbington original if you prefer.

Away from jewel boxes but keeping on the batiks - all the appliqued sashings are now sitting between the batik basket blocks and I'm now steeling myself for clearing enough space on my cutting table to cut a narrow 1" green border and then a wider 10" sand border around this for more applique to complete the top

However it's not just me that's been busy - oh no indeed - himself has been working like a proverbial slave in the back garden laying my beautiful courtyard patio area (well some of it anyway) in all the incredible heat and humidity we've had up to this past few days (until the weather broke with heavy rain showers on Monday anyway)

The top level is almost complete (he's added more since this photo was taken) - it just needs the pointed brick edging to finish this part - ignore the umbrella, it was an aid to keeping him cool while he worked and will actually finish up at the other end of the garden (behind the photographer)

Himself has stoically suffered the 'grand designs' aspirations of the 'design superintendent' (that's me) and put in carefully placed focal accents (you may feel this might just bear a passing resemblance to a patchwork block pattern!)

And under the windows of the conservatory the lavender bed is finished complete with recycled gate post finials to accent the corners - just waiting for the plants to grow to fill it out now.