Tuesday, 21 July 2020

DISAPPEARING ACT



Disappearing Nine Patch 




Disappearing Nine Patch Tutorial


These blocks work really well if there is a contrast in the colours and fabrics you choose, ideally you want to have light, medium and dark fabrics. It's ok if you don't though as it's perfect for scrap busting.


Cutting:


Square size can vary depending on the size of block and/or finished quilt you want - as long as all squares are the same size it doesn't matter. For the purpose of this tutorial, I used a couple of charm packs so my squares are 5 inches.

Cut 9 squares, each 5" x 5"

  • (1) dark
  • (4) medium
  • (4) light







    Arrange the squares into three rows with three squares in each. Place the dark square in the block's centre position. Place the your feature fabric squares (medium) or those you wish to highlight in the block's four corners. Fill in the gaps with the remaining squares (light).


Assembly:


1. Sew the squares together using a quarter inch seam, I press my seams to the dark side, but you can do whatever you prefer, I also like to nest my seams so they lay flatter and line up perfectly.







2. If you are using 5" squares your block should measure 14" square when once the rows have been sewn together. You're then going to cut this in half vertically, so you have 2 units each measuring 7" x 14"


                                 





3. Cut each unit in half horizontally, so you have 4 units each measuring 7" square and then the fun begins.









Putting the block together:


1. There are a variety of different ways these blocks can go together, have fun and experiment to find a layout you like and then sew the rows together.










2. This is the one I went with, the feature fabrics will stand out more due to the borders around them, which is what I was after for this particular block.




Repeat to make as many blocks as you need for your quilt. I intend to have 4 rows of 4 so will need 16 blocks, this will give me a finished quilt of 54" square.

Friday, 10 July 2020

SO I DID A THING.......

I bought a Longarm machine

Often, when you least expect it, life throws you a curve ball. Something you weren't expecting happens and you don't really know what to do, this happened to me at the beginning of the year when I was forced out of a job I loved because of poor leadership and lack of support, but as the saying goes when one door closes another one opens!

I have longingly looked at longarm quilting machines for quite sometime, but they are big so where would I put it and they are expensive so it isn't a decision to make lightly. At the end of February my wonderful husband and I took a trip to view a few and try them out - I was already sold to be honest but it never hurts to carry out more research.

Then the dreaded Corona happen shortly after so things took a little longer than I had hoped but in the middle of May this happened...






She is absolutely amazing, even better than I was expecting, slightly daunting and so much to learn but equally exciting. I spent a few days practicing and was really pleased with my first attempts at free motion quilting on a longarm machine.











It wasn't long before I couldn't resist stitching out edge to edge designs using Pro-Stitcher, the results were really satisfying.










With new found confidence I loaded my first full quilt on to Maggie (that's what we've called her) and stitched out an all over clover design, I absolutely loved it and the overall result is great.




 I haven't looked back since and have quilted several more quilts - I am definitely addicted! 










I'm so excited about this adventure and where it is going to take me, if you need me you know where I'll be - in The She Shed practicing and playing with my longarm.


Happy Quilting
Kerry x

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

A MINI ADVENTURE

When I Met Tula! 

I don't think I ever told you about the time I met Tula Pink - major fan girl moment, I was really impressed with myself that I actually managed to get whole sentences out and they even made some sense!






There's always that worry that if you meet an idol or someone you greatly admire, they may not quite live up to expectations etc, but she really did! Tula was so kind and down to earth, she walked around the room before hand, talking to everyone, having a little sit down looking at the projects people had brought along, giving advice and just generally being lovely.








She then went on to give a brilliant lecture on how she started out in this business, what inspires her, her design process and thought process - the whole thing was wonderfully inspiring and a very insightful look at the fabric designing and manufacturing industry.

A couple of people asked questions about a fabrics 'life cycle', why certain fabrics are only made in seemingly small quantities and never reprinted, the responses I found quite fascinating as I've not got a great deal of experience in the manufacturing side of things. It certainly went a long way to explaining why the resale of some of her earlier lines is down right extortionate in some cases - I will add that this is through private sales and not something she can control.






What is the point of all this you are probably wondering? Not much, I simply adore Tula Pink and wanted to share my love of her fabric and creativity before I go on to show you a mini quilt I made for a Tula Swap. I found it rather difficult to cut into my Tula stash, especially knowing it was going to two other homes and not staying with me, but I got there in the end.








The only real request made from my swap partner was for the purple butterfly from the Eden collection to feature somewhere in the mini quilt, so with that as my starting point I set out a Tula colour wheel to see what jumped out at me. I knew I wanted a mix of prints and solids, but had no design in mind and opted for a more experimental approach of building the quilt as I went.









I had settled on some kind of New York Beauty and Flying Geese combo because I just love them and the endless possibilities there are when using the fabulous book, but that was it I didn't follow a specific pattern so they were both totally unique.







I played around with each section as I had only pinned them in place on my design wall - I often do this if I'm experimenting with a quilt design or playing with my own take on an existing pattern, rather than sewing it up and having to unpick it. When I am happy with a section and I know I won't be changing it then I go ahead and stitch it in place. 






I didn't want two totally identical mini quilts, so for the second I added in some fussy cut pattern matching. It was the first time I had tried it with facial features, it's not perfect if you look very closely but I'm happy with it for a first attempt and I can report that my partner who ended up with this one loved it.








There were so many patterns and varying prints to choose from that it did take a while for me to actually set this one in its final background, where I had used solids for most of the outer rings I wanted a striking print, eventually it was the lovely Deity elephant from Eden in Orchid that won. 






I really enjoy making mini quilts and have been in several mini swaps over the years, there is something quite satisfying about being able to make a quilt from start to finish is a day or a weekend depending on design, even if it is a mini one!

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx

Monday, 23 March 2020

WHY DO YOU QUILT?

A Question Often Asked




I've had this post rattling around in my head for a while, something has always stopped me writing it, I'm not sure what really but now in the midst of 'isewlation' due to this horrid Coronavirus outbreak it seems like a good time to finally get it out. For those of you that have read the dreaded 'C' word and immediately got put off - it is the only time it appears here.


What on earth are you doing? What's the point in cutting up perfectly good pieces of fabric into smaller pieces and sewing it back together? Why do you even want to do that?

Honest questions that I get asked all the time, mostly on holiday or on the train when I am desperately trying to grow my EPP project that should have been finished in May 2019:




Questions that are usually followed by 'oooh I just wouldn't have the patience'. Historically quilting was far more utilitarian born out of a need to keep warm at night but with little resource and scare supplies, so any small piece of fabric that could be used, was added to another until larger pieces were made and then turned into quilts. Nowadays though for a lot of people, this isn't the case, blankets can be bought in all forms and fabric is available in abundance - so why do we quilt?

I've long been of the opinion that buying fabric and making anything out of it, in my case quilts, are two entirely separate hobbies, unfortunately my poor husband is still very much in denial about this - the fabric collecting is something I will have to tackle in another post, #tulapink is all I can say!

I thoroughly enjoy the whole process of selecting a quilt block or pattern based on who I'm making it for or why I'm making it, choosing fabrics and colours that bring the quilt to life and then there is the making process - watching as each little section gets bigger and starts to take shape, eventually becoming a completed quilt top.


I've made all sorts of quilts from lap size to king size, machine pieced, paper pieced (my fav!), group quilts, baby quilts, wedding quilts and everything in between. I'm also lucky enough to have made several custom quilts and commissions, something I am very proud of and continue to do.

There are lots of creative things I could do though, so why do I make quilts? It's simple really - to combat loneliness, by somehow feeling connected to like minded and other fabric loving people like me.

I moved to the UK when I was 13 years old, I left my friends, my culture, the sunshine and everything I'd ever known on the other side of the world in South Africa, a severe shock to the system is an understatement. I started school in September 1998 in Year 9 - another severe shock to the system, where I'm from it's quite common to go to Nursery then move to Primary School and then to Secondary School without the people in your class, however when I moved here I learnt that more often than not everyone goes to the same Nursery then to the same Primary School etc so by the time I joined in Year 9 at the age of 13, many had already been together for a very long time. 

It wasn't that people were necessarily unfriendly but it was very apparent that they already had their friends and on top of that I was different, I spoke funny, I didn't know about the popular things or have the right sized waistline or celebrity crushes - PJ and Duncan could have been a takeaway place for all I knew, so it was both a daunting and lonely time.




  
My best friend lives on the other side of the world, she always has, thankfully we're both able to travel (as I am writing this draft I'm sitting in the glorious sunshine in her beautiful garden) and use WhatsApp, Facebook etc now but it's not the same, she's my person and I miss her everyday. We speak all the time but it is still very lonely, I've always felt lonely so I guess I was looking for something that would help me notice her absence a little less. 

I've long believed that any form of craft or doing something that makes you happy, is great for ones well-being and mental health and I think that this is even more important in today's society where so many people have forgotten how to simply be kind to each other.

I started my quilting journey by doing a beginners class where I met some fantastic ladies, a few of us went on to do a slightly more advanced course where we met a couple more and the five of us are still firm friends, meeting once a month for our own stitch and bitch. We even have our own mini retreats where we rent a beautiful cottage somewhere in the country - usually in the vicinity of at least one quilting shop and have a 'sew in' for four days, we've had three so far, this year marks our 8th as a completely mad bunch of quilting friends, we were a group of six but sadly we lost our friend Sue a few years ago.

These wonderful women who I am very proud to call my friends are so inspirational, I've learnt so much from them and continue to do so, they are supportive and encouraging and I honestly wouldn't be half the quilter I am today if it hadn't been for them.


Image result for why we quilt


So why do I quilt?

Because it feeds my soul, I love creating, I love learning and I enjoy spending time with like minded people, who despite what life might throw up enjoy making beautiful things to reflect their joy and colour. There are so many great books out there dedicated to why people quilt, looking at all aspects across many histories and I have read many of them, but most recently Thomas Knauer released Why We Quilt and I honestly couldn't put it down - cover to cover it is fantastic, the images are beautiful and each story is so wonderfully unique that each person who reads this book will relate to something in it.

So that's my story, that's why I love to quilt, if you'd like to share your story please do get in touch. You can see all my quilting adventures in pictorial from on Instagram @thatssewkerry 

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx