Sunday, 17 August 2014

Modernising tradition.

Recently I've been thinking about how we decide which quilts we make. For those quilters who read blogs and use Instagram and/or Flickr the choice is often swayed by what patterns/blocks are being promoted by pattern writers, magazines and book authors. It seems to me that many, and of course not all, of these designs which are hailed as being new and the "designer's" original work, are actually based on traditional designs which have been around for years.

Elizabeth from Occassionalpiece-Quilt has written a very interesting post about where quilters find their inspiration, she discusses the book "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon who states that "Nothing is original".

I was given this book a few years ago, it features quilts made between 1825 and the 1940's and includes quilts made from log cabin, stars, triangles including  flying geese, English paper piecing and more, all of which are techniques that are being used in today's patterns.


This Double Flying Geese quilt from the book was made circa 1875 but looks like it could have been made yesterday. It reminds me of a Roman tile floor.


This Drunkards Path quilt was made between 1910-1920, to me it also has a very modern aesthetic.



 I bought this book, Down the Rotary Road by Judy Hopkins,when I first started quilting in the 1990's.



Some of the quilts in this book also look they could have been made today, some 20yrs after the book was published.


I  went back to the book thinking I would find patterns different to those around today, however I found that most of the quilts are based on traditional blocks, just as many of the designs around today.
 As Kleon says "nothing is new"! 
  Elizabeth states that Kleon encourages us to note where our influences come from but to me this rarely happens and as I mentioned earlier so many patterns in books, magazines and online which are proclaimed as being new are not.  It is however a positive that the craft is being kept alive and that the old traditional blocks are still being used.

I decided to go back to  Down the Rotary Road  for my next quilt and thought it would be fun to pick a design which doesn't immediately appeal to me, probably due to the fabrics not being to my 2014 taste. Many of the quilts in the book, perhaps unlike the two above, are made from fabrics which would not appeal to most quilters today. I thought it would be interesting to see how different the quilt would look in completely different "modern" fabrics.
The quilt I chose was this one called "State Fair"


It consists of State Fair blocks alternated with chain  blocks.
Here's how my 2014 version is going so far. In the book the centre of the flower is an applied circle but I decided to make life easier and use a pieced snow ball block instead.

I find it fascinating how a quilt design can look so different when made from different fabrics.

Edit: After a comment on this post saying how clever I was to eliminate the appliqued circle I should point out it wasn't my idea, I found the idea here when researching State Fair blocks. After accusing other people of proclaiming old traditional patterns as their own designs perhaps I should practice what I preach!!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Spiral Strips Quilt.

I'm so pleased to have finished this quilt at long last, it's been in the making since January 2012. The design is  "Spiral Strips" from Jelly Roll Quilts: The perfect guide to making the most of the latest strip rolls, by Pam and Nicky Lintott. The fabric is Heirloom by Joel Dewberry. The Jelly roll consisted of fewer strips than that used in the book so I had to add some of my own fabrics.

 I did lines and lines of straight line quilting which seemed like they were never going to end. There were loads of ends to bury as there were numerous starts and stops as rather than just sew end to end I started from the middle square and quilted each quadrant individually.

As you can see I quilted a flower in the centre square but it was quite a struggle with all those seams so it was the first and last of the squares to get a flower.


 The back is also a Joel Dewberry design but I can't remember what it's called. I love the binding which is Bike Path by Alison Glass, I bought it a while ago with no particular purpose in mind and was thrilled that it went so well with this quilt.

I'm glad you can't see me whilst I was writing this post as there has been a lot of shouting and cheering as  the English men have just beaten the Aussies to the Gold medal in the swimming relay in the Commonwealth Games!! Well done to the women too who won the silver medal.


Monday, 7 July 2014

Summer Garden quilt.

Many years ago, not long after I started quilting, I made my Mum and Dad a small wall hanging. It now looks rather tired and dated so I thought it was time I made them a new one.
 I used the quilt "Garden Party" from the book " Making Quilts"  by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession as inspiration and scaled down the size dramatically.   The original quilt is made up of a background representing the sky, the green bushy level and murky garden-bed layer.
For my background I used a colour wash method which was popular around the time I started quilting.


 I quilted the background with wavy lines using an aurifil  50 weight thread in light grey. I then applied flowers made from Dresden plates.


I had fun making the flowers with my new wedge rule, I can see more Dresdens in my future. I also enjoyed fussy cutting the fabrics.

This flower was machine applied, I left the points loose to add some texture.






It was a fun quilt to make and I quite fancy making a larger one at some point........after I've finished some other projects first of course.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Strip quilt detail.

Last time I said I would show in detail, the wonderful quilt top my strip bee friends made. After a year on the road it has returned home having been transformed into a beautiful quilt top.

 
I started with the row of wonky houses and then sent it off on its journey.
The first stop was with Fran who added a row of sweet little trees. I'm pleased that the houses look out onto a beautiful wooded area.



Next stop was with Jen who made a row of beautiful butterflies to flutter over the roof tops.
Jen designed the pattern herself. The wings are paper pieced and the sky made using a template.







Amy was the next to work her magic. Another talented lady who also used her own design, a row of beautiful roses for the neighbourhood.




The street is a very happy place, so, during its stay on the island of Jersey Sarah added a row of hearts. As Sarah put it, she included "a little bit of love shining down on the street".


Every street needs some kitty cat residents, the ones here even ride bicycles. They must be very posh cats as they come from Liberty no less!


Finally it was Julie's turn.She paper pieced some perfect little birds to fly over head, they even have their own house too, but as Julie pointed out she thinks the opening may be a bit too small for them to fly into!



I couldn't be more pleased with my new quilt top. Thanks so much to Fran, Jen, Amy, Sarah and Julie for all the hard work they put into it. It's been such a fun swap and I'm so glad you all agreed to join.

It's now up to me to finish it. I'm planning on hand quilting but must admit I'm rather nervous about sewing into their beautiful work, I think I'll start with my row.......
 Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Needle and Thread Thursday, links to both of these in side bar.

Maria.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Strip Bees reveal all!

Almost a year ago I started an online bee. Six quilters from all over the UK and Jersey each made a patchwork strip which were then sent round the group with each member adding a strip until the quilt tops were complete.



This weekend we all met at Jen's for a wonderful get together where the big reveal took place. None of us had seen what had been added to our strips since we sent them off on their journeys a year ago.
Huge thanks go to Jen for hosting the weekend, as Fran put it on her blog, Jen turned her home into a five star hotel for the weekend.


First of all I must apologise to my bee mates for any photos of them which they may feel are less than flattering. I had limited photos to choose from as most of my pictures were out of focus. I'm told it was pilot error, it appears that in my exitement I didn't give the camera time to focus.

I started with a row of wonky houses.

 Here I am with my wonderful completed quilt top. I'm going to do a separate post detailing each row.


Here's Sarah from Quilt Candy about to see her quilt top for the first time.


Here's (a rather poor) of picture of it. 


I didn't manage to get even one vaguely in focus of Amy, from Cloud CouCou, with hers. She started with an improv. block which gave some of us quite a challenge when deciding what to add.
Didn't it turn out fantasically?


After the riot of colour of Sarah and Amy's quilts, Julie's (mackandmabel) was a more subtle, but just as beautiful quilt.
Here she is about to have her first look.



Our wonderful hostess, Jen of Glinda Quilts, was in competition with the sunshine when she revealed her quilt!


Last but certainly not least was Fran of Patchyrose. As with Amy I didn't manage to get one usable picture of her with her quilt.




Wow, what a riot of colour!

Thanks to all the ladies for agreeing to join me in the bee. I've enjoyed it so much and it was fantastic to meet you all at the weekend. Extra special thanks to Jen for opening up your home to us for the weekend.

I'll be back soon with more of we got up too.

Maria.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Friendship X and plus blocks:April

Yet again the time has whizzed along and it's time to show this months Friendship X and plus swap blocks.
I hope you like them Jane. I can't believe we have only two months left in this fun swap. 
 I posted previously about the paper pieced Mariner's Delight Compass mini quilt I made following the online Craftsy class by Carol Doak.
It's now finished and waiting to be hung on my sewing room wall.
I was planning on doing some kind of fancy free motion quilting but in the ending I went for straight lines which I think suits the block design well. I'm loving the Kaffe Fassett fabric I used for the binding, I think it frames it well.

Bye for now, Maria.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

We didn't mean to make her cry!

What do quilters do when a friend is poorly? They make them a quilt of course!
As I've mentioned before, a couple of weeks ago Jen was due to host a weekend get together of the Strip Bee girls but sadly for her she had an accident and was unable to host the get together. Jen has been left with an injury which, as she put it, has left her out of action for a while.

We wanted to get the quilt to her as soon as possible so decided on one 8.5 inch block each which I joined and quilted and made into a vertical wall hanging with the option of it being used as a table runner.
Jen likes pink so the only point we worked from was to use pink and purple.
Considering this I'm amazed how coordinated the finished quilt looks.


The top block was made by Amy. I love the little bee in the centre, so appropriate for a quilt made by the strip bees. I also love how she used the fabric with the pink chevrons.


Julie made the cutest English paper pieced flower. Notice how she and Amy have unintentionally used one of the same fabrics?

Fran made a gorgeous star. I love all the fabrics she used.


I made a version of a Dresden plate called a Dresden Daisy. I can see some more dresden plates in my future.


Sarah made a sweet economy block using Wee Wander by Sarah Jane, I love the adorable fussy cut fabric in the centre.



I'm pleased to say the quilt arrived safely with Jen and she's done a lovely post about it and the other goodies we sent here. She titled the post "They made me cry".
We didn't mean to make you cry Jen!