Monday, 20 September 2010

Beginners' workshop

The beginners'workshop I lead last Saturday was lovely! Eight people came along (I know there were more people interested, but the date clashed with other things) and they were all very hardworking. We made the components for a quilt from 'Nickel Quilts' by Charlene Speth and Pat Spode, and it was a hard slog. First there was the cutting,

then there was the deciding on colour combinations,

then there was the sewing of a quarter inch seam,

not to mention the times when you forgot what you were doing and had to have a little prompt!

Then there was the puzzling, at why, when you had cut and sewn accurately, the blocks don't fit together. Poor Rosemary discovered that her needle was in the zigzag rather than straight sewing position, and she had been inadvertantly been sewing seams which were three eighths rather than a quarter! I blame the teacher, who should have checked everyone's sewing machine first off! Sorry, Rosemary.

Everyone made some beautiful fabric choices. There was the sophisticated, pastel pink and soft green,

the dynamic, in browns and oranges,

the carefully considered, with green for the fields and blues and browns for the mountains,

the co-ordinated, in pinks and burgundies,

the reproduction, in pinks, browns and creams,

and the scrappy, in 'I need to use up these fabrics'!

I'm sorry, I didn't manage to get a photo of Rosemary or Paula's finished blocks. I can assure you they were gorgeous - especially Paula's, who has created her own wonderful variation on the pattern. We are planning to have another session to learn about layering up, quilting and binding, so look out for details of this!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Margaret Shah

Despite the poor weather (wind and heavy rain showers) lots of people were keen to get back into routine by attending the September meeting, hear Margaret Shah and most importantly, see her fabulous quilts. Margaret proved to be a very amusing speaker, and was also very honest. She actually confessed to using a black marker pen to disguise the missewn edges of Bondaweb (oh, come on, we've all done it!) She was exactly the kind of speaker we in Piecemakers like best, and her quilts were something else altogether!

Here she is, with a few of her quilts in front of her. She mainly uses silk for her piecing, with the majority of her fabric coming from silk ties which she buys from charity shops. She started piecing over papers, and fussy cuts the fabric to make intricate, tesellating shapes, reminiscent of the kaleidoscopes we all had as children.

Once she had finished speaking, everyone was eager to examine her work more closely. It certainly repaid close scrutiny!

This yellowy quilt made me think of Victorian fireplace tiles. Since the fabrics were all silk, the colours were glorious and jewel-like.
Show and tell wasn't quite up to this standard, but still inspiring. Gwyneth had designed and made this charming quilt for a friend's expected first grandchild. A sampler quilt with a difference.
Di had made this lovely banner as an accompaniment to the story of the creation. Apparently, children today don't know their Bible stories (or fairy tales and nursery rhymes, I'll add!) and Di is part of a group of volunteers going round to schools to remedy this sorry state of affairs. Lots of the shapes are attached by Velcro, so the story can be interactive. What a clever idea.
Gaynor had been to a summer school and come back with lots of lovely things. This mini-quilt was made in some of the V&A fabrics, and while I think it's gorgeous, she thinks it's too busy.

This simple design was made from leftover jelly roll strips. Simple but effective!

One day they were asked to bring a panel or piece of scenis fabric, and then had to design a black frame for it. Gaynor says this is the scene she wishes she could see out of her window!

Her last item was a bag. It was a useful size and she had enjoyed embellishing it with buttons from her collection.

Elaine had also made a bag, hers in batik fabrics. The black always makes batiks sing.

Bags are obviously very popular, as Tilly had brought hers too! This one was also in rectangles, and embellished suitably.Tilly had also made this lovely seaside inspired landscape. She had even added a real pearl caught in a net! Paula has had a busy summer finishing quilts for Project Linus. First this cute cot quilt with cheerful ducks on it. Then she managed to get a couple of panels in a sale.

This one is Dresden Plate, and looks fresh and pretty.This one is Double Wedding Ring, another traditional design. Paula's final quilt had been made from orphan stack and whack blocks, put together with a stunning centrepiece.

The last quilt in the show is another Linus, beautifully made and machine embroidered. A perfect cot quilt for a baby. many thanks for your hard work and imagination, ladies.

Next month will be the AGM and 10th anniversary celebrations. To contribute to the party atmosphere, members are invited to make a cup cake (for inspiration seee below)

or a birthday card. After being admired, the items will be ditributed tombola style, as a momento of the evening. Make sure you have a go, and let your imagination run riot!