Waaaay back in January, I had a lovely day at the quilt show in Ardingly. I had never been before but it is quite handy for me to get to and coincidentally, the Bluebell Railway is about five minutes away, so my boys were happy for the day and I was happy for the day! It's quite a small fair but that I meant I had time to browse at lesiure, especially once the coach parties had left by early afternoon.
My eagle eyes spotted a pile of delicious looking quilts and I headed over for a nosey. It happened to be the stall of a lady called Carolyn Forster and some happy chatting informed me that she has written several quilting books and I was very interested in her title, "Quilting-on-the-Go". Now I don't know if you've heard of this before but I had heard of quilting-on-the-go, I just didn't know anything about it. Inspired by Carolyn and her quilts, off I went armed with her book and a reel of hand quilting cotton.
I devoured the book from cover to cover, drooling over the photos and projects. There are some lovely ones and projects for all abilities. I was pretty taken with the "Turkey Tracks".
I was rather ga-ga over the "Scrap Baskets".
But I knew that to tackle this new technique, I had better not try to walk before I could run! I had particularly liked one of the quilts Carolyn had with her, it had lots of fabric in from the "Dear Betty" range which I liked and even happened to have a stack of at home which I'd won courtesy of Fat Quarterly. Nothing stopping me then!
Now I actually started this project right away but I haven't done anything further on it since at least before we went on holiday in April. Life, gardening and particularly the builders, have got in the way but this week, I decided I needed to find more time for quilting again. I'm not happy if I'm not sewing.
So today, I dug out my pile of abandoned blocks.
You may be able to see that first I make up the pieced top, a nine-patch with a border. They're pretty large, I'm not going to measure but I think probably about 16". The construction is refreshingly simple, I seem to recall I got through the first two series of North and South whilst making these! I then make a sandwich, just as you would with a regular quilt, but this time I do it with each block. The idea is that this makes the project portable so you can bung your 16"ish block in your bag wherever you may be going, and fit in a spot of hand quilting.
Well this, dear reader, was music to my ears. I like nothing more than a hand quilted quilt, you can't beat that old-fashioned puckery look. You can't achieve the same effect with machine quilting as it's just too hard to get your machine to do certain fiddly patterns without driving yourself bonkers. However, whilst I have hand quilted dolly quilts, I haven't quilted a large quilt and nor do I think I would (or could). This for me then, is perfect. My main love is machine sewing so I get to do that to piece the top of the block. They I get to practise hand quilting on a manageable scale and...I can do it on-the-go!
Here's the back of the block. Hmm, liking that hand quilted look.
In my pile, I was chuffed to see I have amassed quite a few finished blocks. They're easy to quilt whilst sitting in front of the tv of an evening or on a short rail journey.
The magic occurs when joining the individual blocks together, again a mixture of machine and hand sewing. Yes, I probably should wait and sew everything together once all the blocks are finished but I was dying to have a go!
My fabric palette was quite eclectic, that's the look I was going for; somewhat scrappy, bright and colourful. Sort of thrown together (with much behind-the-scenes deliberation, of course!) There's the Dear Betty, then, some ditsy floral Cath K, some 1930's repro fabrics, a bit of gingham and polka dots. I laid out my "buffet" of squares as I usually do, the cutting did take some time but I wanted to have a lot to choose from for each block to get that scrappy look. There's not many on my buffet now as I've pieced quite a lot of blocks.
So, I'm going to need to get chopping again. Not a problem? (Cue: gratuitous stash shot.)
Oooh my giddy aunt, I then remember that months ago, I treated myself to some fabrics to use in this project. They are by Denyse Schmidt, goddess designer of the much coveted '30's style ranges "Katie Jump Rope", "Flea Market Fancy" (so popular it sold for silly amounts on Etsy once it went out of print but has happily been reprinted this year), "Hope Valley" and so on. (Please allow me my little obsessive fabric ramble. Thank you.) I seem to recall that this range was produced solely for retail in certain budget stores, Spotlight in Australia and Joanns in the USA I think, but of course, anything is possible with the www. My lot came via Etsy from a super seller in New York and arrived in five days.
It feels like Christmas Day. Sigh.
Anyway, fabulous fabric fantasies over, here's some I produced earlier! I've just joined four blocks together to practise the technique. I don't think I want to leave all the joining until the end as that's not exactly the riveting bit, IMHO.
Oooh, Im liking it.
And just to prove that I really have been "quilting-on-the-go"...
Bothered by funny looks? Not me!
(Please excuse the lack of links but I am not about to drive myself insane with this new Blogger format which will not let me do links. There's always Google- or another search engine of your choice- eh?)