Friday, 11 March 2016

Dear Angela

Day 7 of the quilt challenge - It was really hard to decide which quilt to pick for the last day, but in the end I chose my 'Dear Angela' quilt because this is probably the last of the traditional, hand made bed quilts I'll ever make. Not long after I arrived in Perth I saw a beautiful 'Dear Jane' quilt made by a member of my quilt guild, using Liberty Lawn fabrics. For those that haven't heard about 'Dear Jane' quilts read on... 

"Jane A. Stickle, who was born on April 8, 1817 in Vermont, is the creator. Jane made the quilt during the Civil War, completing it in 1863. It is a sampler quilt, comprised of 169 square 4.5” blocks, each one different. There are also 4 pieced corner triangles, 52 pieced border triangles, and a unique scalloped border. Altogether, there are an astounding total of 5,602 pieces in her quilt!"

As I had quite a collection of liberty fabric I thought it would be a good idea to use it up and make a wall quilt. Little did I know that I would become addicted and that once you start, there's no stopping. Eventually, some of the blocks from the original quilt were too fiddly or downright ugly so I started to adapt or design my own. By the time I got to the outer triangles I designed almost all of them myself, although when I started to run out of ideas (each one must be different) I threw some paper and pencils at friends in my Quirky Quilters group and told them to design a pattern. I used every design they drew for me. Friends also shared or gave me liberty fabric, even the lovely 'Chaucer' ladies, who sent me a parcel from England for my birthday.The quilt was hand pieced/appliqued and hand quilted.
The quilt was finally finished in time for the QuiltWest exhibition in 2015 and was awarded three prizes.
And why did I name the quilt 'Dear Angela'? - In recognition of Angela Davis, who was the maker of the Liberty quilt that inspired me. And there is one surprise in the quilt, a kangaroo block to mark that this is an Australian made quilt.


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Canterbury Windows

Day 6 of the 7 day challenge - I had to add this quilt because it really does have a story to tell. I apologise in advance to anyone who has heard this a million times…
I started this cathedral window quilt when I was living in Melbourne in 1984 BEFORE I started quilting. I was always trying different crafts in those days, pottery, cross stitch, embroidery, macramé (heavens - what happened to macramé?) and this was just one more thing to try. My husband had been sent to Australia for a two year stint and I was working night duty in Melbourne where, in the quiet hours of the night, I stitched the little windows. I remember I bought the fabric in the Victoria market with no idea what I should buy (I ended up with some polyester cottons).
When I moved to Brazil the project went with me. One day I came home to find that the house had been broken into (not an infrequent occurrence) and the entire contents of our drinks cabinet, some food and cash had been stolen. It wasn’t till a few weeks later that I couldn’t find my almost completed quilt. I was devastated to realise that my years of hand-work had been grabbed with the some tablecloths nearby to wrap up and carry the stolen goods!
So, my original quilt probably ended up being dumped by the roadside when its job was done. Luckily I had more of the fabric and a few window blocks that hadn’t been attached, and years later I decided to use these and make as many more windows as I could. The result is this wall hanging which I call ‘Canterbury Windows’ after the town where we were living when the quilt was finally finished in 2010, 26 years after it was started!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Millennium Quilt

Day 5 of the quilt challenge - back to England and this is my Millennium Quilt which was started in 1999 and finished about ten years later. I began appliqueing the blocks on a family holiday to Australia (we were still living in India at this time) and I remember stitching in a hotel in Perth, little knowing that over ten years later we would move here to live. Memories of making this quilt intermingle with memories of sitting in Kings Park watching the millennium fireworks.
In 2001 we moved back to England and I completely lost my quilting mojo. I didn't have time to quilt with four school age children (in India we were lucky enough to have help in the house) and I didn't join a quilting group for five years. The quilt languished half done in the basement and I did absolutely no quilting until I met another lovely group of ladies, the Chaucer Quilters. who got me going again. They also introduced me to the world of competitive quilting and I won quite a few prizes with this quilt. It was hand appliqued and hand quilted and is happily living on my lounge wall, back in Perth where it all started.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The 'Biggie'

Day 4 of the quilt challenge and I'm still in India. I call this quilt 'The Biggie' as it's the largest quilt I've ever made - 108" x 108". I saw the pattern of an antique quilt in a magazine and knew instantly that I had to make one exactly like it. I machine pieced and hand quilted it in 2000 and its been on my bed ever since. Unlike the other quilts it actually followed me to Australia and is well used. The colours have faded a bit but it still looks lovely.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Stephanie's Sampler

Day 3 of the quilt challenge. We now move to New Delhi, India where I was a member of another lovely quilting group. By this time I was teaching beginners and the blocks in the centre of this quilt were my class samples. I made it for my daughter, Stephanie - started in about 1995 and finished in 1999. I must have dallied a bit too long in giving it to her as she was 10 by then and getting a bit too old for the Beatrix Potter animals in the centre of each star! It was hand quilted using local cotton fabrics made for export and cost less than a 100 rupees a metre, which if I recall rightly was under a UK pound! She still loves it and complains that it was yet another quilt left in storage in England.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Down Memory Lane

My friend Tracy has passed a quilt challenge on to me - the aim being to post a quilt a day for 7 days on facebook. I was about to post my more recent efforts, when I realised that everyone will have seen those and decided to go back to my early days instead. I have to say how much I'm enjoying thinking about those early quilts and the people I knew back then. It really is becoming a trip down memory lane. I'm on day 2 now and this is what I wrote about the first quilts...


Day 1 - My dear friend Tracy has passed the quilt challenge on to me and the aim is to post a quilt a day for 7 days. As I've been quilting since 1988 there are a lot of quilts to choose from! I decided to go right back and work through from the beginning...
This quilt was the second one I ever made and is a typical sampler quilt with blocks that I had made as part of a beginners course. It's hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted. It took about a year to make and from then on I was hooked on all things quilting. I haven't seen this quilt in a while, as its stored in my house in England, but it was used and much loved for many years...
(Forgot to say this quilt was made in Brasilia, Brazil. I was a member of a lovely group of ladies called the Brasilia Piecemakers (we thought that was such an original name...) and was finished in 1993 so took 4 years to make!)
Day 2 -  Day 2 of the quilt challenge. Here is another quilt from my Brasilia days called 'Candy Wheels', which I made for my sister's 25th wedding anniversary. It's the first quilt I'd made to my own design and I was very proud of it. I'd learnt how to draft traditional blocks early on and then realised I could easily design my own, so I drew the pattern on good old graph paper (no computer assistance then!) with rulers and pencils.
At the time the US 'Quiltmaker' magazine had an on-going design competition which encouraged readers to submit their original patterns, and my design was published! I won a $100 US, which in 1992 was enough to buy quite a lot of quilting equipment! I spent a lot of time in those days designing with coloured pencils and had a second shot later on and won $100 with another design. Of course, I'm a computer addict now and everything I make starts life on my ipad but those early days were good fun.
The quilt was machine pieced and hand quilted and the fabric had to be ordered from the US as the Brazilian fabric available wasn't quite good enough for quilting.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Fair Trade Beans

That's the last of the sections done. Now I just have to decide how to collage them all together into a quilt top! As always you need to stand back to see the image properly. 
That's also the last sneaky peek of my Fair Trade quilt until the QuiltWest exhibition in May (unless I start to procrastinate again and it doesn't get finished till later...)

Friday, 4 March 2016

Fair Trade slow progress

I haven't posted for a while because I've been struggling to get my 'Fair Trade' top finished. It's been really hard to get into my sewing room lately, even though I've had to pass it (and the design wall) every day. The work in progress has been looking back at me asking why I'm procrastinating so much. 
I realise that I'm very bad at working to a deadline (entry forms for QuiltWest have to be in at the end of this month) as I seem to put things off more if I have to do something by a certain date. This is not logical but explains my 'Guilty Quilter' blog title - I feel guilty if I don't do my daily jobs and guilty if I don't complete a quilting project! The more guilt, the more I bury my head in the sand...
Happy to say that I've been smothering the guilt (not the quilt!) and have been working all week on 'Fair Trade' having made real progress. The house is a tip and I need to get a bit of sunshine before too long but there's a chance the top will be ready to photograph for the exhibition. Then the thing needs quilting! Sigh...