Friday, 30 May 2014

Paper pieced butterfly and Quiltfest

Malvern Quilt show this was a great shopping opportunity; basting pins, fat quarters, two kits, threads… I found it difficult to stop. One of the many things I bought was an Olfa rotating cutting mat. It's been on my wish list for ages but the price put me off. There was a bit of a deal and a freebie blade thrown in too at the show so I took the plunge. It had a first outing yesterday with a bit of paper piecing.

I have been following The Tartankiwi for some time. I just love her paper pieced New Zealand birds and animals but it was her butterflies that caught my eye last year. I downloaded the 5" Butterfly block from Juliet's Craftsy store last year and this seemed a good project to use up my scraps of purple and try the mat.

I was a bit daunted with the tiny pieces and had to check that I had printed the pattern to the right size as they looked so small. I used paper piecing for Lexie's quilt but this was a whole lot smaller, (5"eek!)
I refreshed my memory on the technique first with the many excellent tutorials in the blogosphere.  I was soon up and running. I pressed each tiny seam and the pattern came together fairly well. The only difficulty I had was when joining the 4 pieced squares to the body as the printer paper was rather thick. This may be easier with Vilene Stitch n Tear stabiliser. I used pins to position the matching points in order to line up seams as accurately as I could.After a couple of hours I had my first butterfly. Next time I will try to pattern match the wings but I've fallen in love with paper piecing!

I just need to embroider the antennae, add a wide border and will quilt this weekend.

***Update***** Quilted into a small gift for a special friend. I'll reveal all next week!

Mike and I travelled to Bristol yesterday to visit the Bristol Quilters triennial exhibition Quiltfest 2014
There was a stunning array of over 100 quilts and wall hangings all beautifully displayed in the hall, classroom and refectory. There is nothing better than eating home-made cake surrounded by quilts!
One of the displays that caught my eye was "Chinese Whispers." Groups of three people were shown a postcard for two minutes only then were given time to design and make a miniature quilt with what they could recall of the picture. The postcard and group of quilts were displayed together and it was interesting to see the different interpretations of the same picture.

There were too many quilts to show them all here but I was impressed by the sheer range of techniques and the skill displayed. My favourite was "Chinese Journey in Three Parts" by Stephanie Crawford. This exquisite quilt won first prize in the Festival of Quilts UK 2013 and it was easy to see why. Amazing stitching.

 Also loved "Garden Path" by Christine Franklin. Made in vintage Liberty florals.

fantastic appliqué detail in Garden Path quilt

Jan Hassard had several  of her own quilts on display including "Stripping the Garden" There were a number of "Infinity Square" quilts from a class taught by Jan. Well done for finishing- I will have to get on with my "Cascading Logs." It is still on the design board after all this time.

Stripping the garden appliqué detail

So much talent and inspiration on show so well worth a visit.

I'm linking up on June 1st to Lily's Quilts for the Small Blog Meet. This is for blogs of less than 50 followers who would like to get to know a few more people. I have 40 followers now and would just love to pass the magical 50. Please take a look at what I have been up to, leave a comment or even become a regular reader. I write the blog to record my own progress and have 'met' some fantastic people through it.

Lily's Quilts
Also joining in the fun for the first time at the Sew Darn Crafty link party at Sew Many Ways run by Karen.

Have a lovely weekend, I'm going to chill and quilt.


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Crochet in Manchester

Mike and I were invited to the wedding of a dear friend's son in The Monastery, Manchester last weekend. The former Franciscan monastery was designed by Pugin and built between 1863-1872.  This architectural masterpiece is a Grade 2* listed building but had fallen into a state of severe disrepair. It was saved by the Monastery of St Francis and Gorton Trust who organised a campaign and raised £6.5 million for the restoration of the deconsecrated building. It is now used for weddings, spiritual events and conferences. If you have the time please click on the link to discover some of the buildings history. A stunning wedding venue for Phil and Sarah.

We decided to visit the Manchester Art Gallery on a rainy Sunday morning. By chance they were holding an exhibition, Time Machine,  by the Portugese artist, Joana Vasconselos. This stunning exhibition juxtaposes very large crochet art works against paintings and sculptures from the gallery to provoke "thoughtful comment". I suggest you click through to read her biography to fully explore her ideas. I have a very sketchy background as far as 'Art' is concerned but I loved the way she plays with texture, form and colour.

The following photos are taken on my iPhone so I apologise for the quality but they give a good idea of the scope and scale of the exhibition.

Bestie 2014 (faience covered in Azores crocheted lace)

Dropping (a bathroom washbasin displayed near the seascapes)

Cottonopolis 2014. Textile tubes and shapes surround the 'masculine' William de Morgan and Pilkington tiles

True Faith 2014 - a crochet painting
Big Booby #2 2011
I would have loved to spend more time in the gallery and will visit again. The exhibition runs until June 1st 2014.

I'm linking up to Wool on Sundays. Perhaps by next week I'll have some of my own stuff to show!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

In it to Win it!

I finally got round to taking some photos this week of my finished Medallion quilt. I went down to the seafront in Penarth hoping for some sunshine after the beautiful weekend. The sun was notable by it's absence most of the time but we had time for a cup of coffee in the Pavilion Cafe while we waited for it to reappear.

I was thrilled to pieces when I collected my quilt and could not wait to finish the binding. The only thing it lacks now is a label but I have left a corner of the binding loose to put one in.

You've got to be in it to win it, right? Well I did! I joined in a few of the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day posts and, amazingly, was a winner on Joanne's blog, Rose & Dahlia. She had made a fab Union Jack quilted pillow from a pattern in Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. It is paper pieced and quilted in a fantastic small floral, white and pink. Jo had packaged it so beautifully and it was a real treat  to open. Thank you Jo. I LOVE it!

I will be linking up tomorrow with Georgia Girl Quilts who is hosting TGIFF.

Also linking to NTT (Needle and Thread Thursday) at  My Quilt Infatuation.

I am off up North to Manchester for the wedding of the son of very close friends this weekend. I can hardly wait but just about to try my outfit on…fingers crossed it fits…….
Have a great weekend yourselves,


Saturday, 17 May 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival; my first entry!

I am so excited this weekend. I have never entered a quilt in a show, lets face it, I haven't made many quilts! I am going to enter my version of the Hummingbird quilt that I made for my granddaughter in the small quilt category of the Bloggers Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.

The quilt is a paper-pieced pattern called Hummingbird from Rita of Red Pepper Quilts. The fabrics are from Nel Whatmore's Secret Garden in Linen and I love the brightness especially of the backing.

I had the top long arm quilted and was so pleased with the result. Its now in pride of place on my granddaughter's French day bed.

If you are a new visitor to my small blog, thank you so much! I'm so enjoying my contact with the blogging community. If you are a follower already, thank you for your patience with seeing the quilt again. I am so proud of it. I will be blogging again after a busy weekend about my visit to the Malvern Quilt Show and progress on my Triangle Quilt.

Enjoy the beautiful sunny weather this weekend,


Monday, 12 May 2014

Bower birds hatched in Skipton

                                I've just had an amazing weekend in Yorkshire attending a crochet workshop with Lucy of Attic24 fame. She is possibly the nicest person you are ever likely to meet AND the most incredibly patient teacher too. Her studio is above an amazing cafe, Coopers Cafe Bar, so what could be better? A day spent with like-minded, interesting people with coffee and buns on tap.

Lucy had laid the table with a rainbow of yarns and we chatted about the colours while deciding which we were drawn to for our birds. It may have something to do with age but I am constantly amazed how I am drawn to the more vintage shades of plums, purples and lilacs while the younger women chose beautiful bright contrasting colours.

The other 'students' had more experience than I did and it certainly showed at the beginning. After several embarrassing attempts to start I eventually managed, with Lucy's encouragement, to produce the body of the bird. The pattern needed to be exact to produce the right bird shape and mine had ever such a tiny hump on her back. We all settled in with coffee and pastries to fortify us and the birds slowly took shape. By lunchtime most of the body and wings were complete and we could start to use embroidery to embellish the wings and body.

The day flew by and with one eye on the clock the birds were all finished. Such wonderful colours. I am determined to try to use brighter colours for my next attempt but they all have a charm of their own.

If you have never visited Lucy's blog, please do! She is so generous with her patterns and ideas and documents her creative life with such great photos.

Thank you Lucy for holding the workshop and having the patience to help me hatch a Bower bird too.

Mike and I broke up the journey back to South Wales with a flying visit to Dunham Massey in Cheshire. The hall and grounds have belonged to the National Trust since the 1960s and I have fond memories of picnicking in the deer park with my daughters when they were young.

To mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 they have staged a large exhibition called "Sanctuary from the Trenches".  Dunham Massey became the Stamford Hospital during WW1 and 282 wounded soldiers were treated there. There are recreations of a ward, a recreation room, operating theatre and nurses station with staff dressed in period costume as nurses and patients. I found the letters, accounts of injuries and photographs so moving.

The reconstructed operating theatre

 It may seem such a long time ago but many of us have grandparents or great-grandparents who fought and gave their lives during this terrible conflict. The exhibition is an excellent way to mark this anniversary and suitable for all ages so if you are in the North West please do visit. I don't think you will be disappointed.

I'm off to make another Bower bird this afternoon, better and brighter this time!

I'm linking up to Janine's blog at Rainbow Hare Quilts for

Have a wonderful week, apparently it's to get warmer….yippee!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

A Bits and Pieces kind of week

I don't suppose many of you remember the 60's so well but there was a group called the Dave Clark Five who had a hit with a song called "Bits and Pieces" in 1964. It has been a really enjoyable week with lots going on but not much accomplished on the crafting front- just bits and pieces!

I thought I'd start today with some photos of the garden taken about 9am this morning.

I had a stroll around just soaking up the early morning sun and birdsong. Days like this are too infrequent.
Then it was off to the Farmers Market for some bread, croissants and the most amazing apricot custard tarts for dinner tonight. I also needed some greens and found this beautiful fresh chard on one of the stalls.

 The colour of the stems is amazing and contrasts so vividly with the shiny dark green leaves.

Finally, the bit and pieces I achieved this week. It's not much as we had two house viewings and I needed to declutter and clean.

The first photo is a few Maybelle flowers in cotton. I think I may make a lot more and make a spring garland for the kitchen. I'm practising my crochet as next weekend I am off up to Skipton in Yorkshire to learn how to make a Bower bird with Lucy of Attic24 fame. I am so excited!!

I've just cut the binding for Hugo's quilt in Garden pin dot by Michael Miller.

So that's it. Not much accomplished but a lovely week watching a friend's daughter get married, afternoon tea with another friend and lunch out with my quilting group.

The decks are free now to cut more triangles for Vivi's quilt.

Have a wonderful May Day Bank Holiday tomorrow.


I wonder if those few flowers qualify me to link up with Wool on Sundays. I'll give it a go! Check out the other lovely things on Janine's blog, Rainbow Hare Quilts.