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I've been looking at those Bead Journal Project pieces I made in 2010, making plans to turn more of them into wall-hangings. I've been folding some fabrics for the dark green one, and I think I've found a layout that I like. The original beaded piece is 5.5" (though of course you're seeing the seam allowance here as well, go for where the white dotted line is), and if I follow the sketch I've just drawn up, the total wall hanging would be 10.75" square. Here's what I've thrown together so far. Assuming the black will be a solid throughout, and following the sketch for current proposed accurate sizes, does this look well-proportioned and generally nicely-balanced to you? And should the border pieces be longer at the sides, as they are in the sketch, or longer at the top and bottom instead?

The obligatory pictures )
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The Crazy Women project is finally over, all except the card and accompanying note which will go with it to the charity it's going to. I picked Forward UK because I wanted to focus on something connected to female sexuality, a theme we all explored in this project. They do fantastic work in an area many people do not want to think about. It was challenging and inspiring to work on this project, and I am honoured to have worked with the women of the LJ Birthday Block swap group who contributed, as well as my blog readers and friends who helped with advice and even an impromptu photo shoot in a nearby park.

Photos! )
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The main question is: how much more bling does it need, and where? It's hard to give a good idea of beading in a photo, but here it is anyway. I've now added the final border, a 1/4" strip of fabric which is almost entirely gold metallic, and which is in lieu of a binding (and which I now wish I'd made 1/2" wide, but what the hell).

The obligatory photo )
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I'm now working on the Crazy Women wall hanging, and have done a certain amount of embroidery and beading. Any suggestions as to where I take it from here? And does the beaded gold spiral look well-balanced?

Pictures, including a photo of the Crazy Women quilt outdoors in the sunlight )
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I finished binding the Crazy Women quilt the other day, and am now working on the cushion cover that will go with. It's a single 12" block, made from three very similar fabrics in deep pink, and it will have plain red fabric on the back of the cushion cover and the same light pink batik for binding that was used on the quilt. I have come up with a nice design for it, involving the expected shape with six rows of stitching. The third shape in turns into a little spiral at one end (towards the top left). I had originally planned to use six different threads for this, shading from the darkest in the centre to the lightest at the outside. The colours are off-white, pale pink, deep pink, red, dark red, and purple. I've done four out of six, and the snag is that you just can't see the two middle ones, which includes the little spiral detail. My options at this point are

a) unpick most or all of it and do the whole thing in a single colour, probably either dark red, off-white or pale pink. I'd lean towards pale pink, which would pick up the binding;
b) unpick most of it and use two alternating colours, say dark red and one of the light colours, or alternatively alternate either light pink with off-white or dark red with purple for a more subtle effect;
c) continue as planned, and then turn the whole thing into whipped running stitch, using the same thread (probably off-white) for the whipping. I'm not sure this would actually look all that good, but it may preserve the effect of the shaded set of threads in some way, and would save me the unpicking. Although it's only about 40 min's worth of sewing to unpick.

Photo of how it looks so far )
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I am finally making progress again with the sewing, although at a slow and stately pace. Yesterday I finished the quilting for the Crazy Women quilt, and hope to get it bound this week. I am also considering what to do with the matching cushion that will go with the quilt when it's raffled off, and the wall hanging which will go to the charity for their own use.

Photos, a bit on the not-safe-for-work side in a very stylised way )
lobsterdesigns: (Waterlily quilt)
I have eventually realised that due to forces beyond my control (OK, buggering up my arms with RSI for months on end was sort of my fault, but you get my drift), I really am not going to finish the 2011 Bead Journal Project. I had fun, I learned some more about beading, and I completed seven nice little pieces. The time has now come to finish them off, and I've decided to make them into little individual wall hangings and give them to assorted friends. They're all 5" on the dotted basting line at the moment, apart from the bottom one where I miscalculated and made it 1/2" bigger. Does anyone have any particular suggestions as to how I should frame them? I think the January grey tree needs an unbeaded border, probably in a darker grey batik with a gentle pattern, while the turquoise round spiral could work with something more elaborate, perhaps even several borders.

Bead Journal Project 2011

In other news, my hands are finally improving, possibly because I've been in an ME crash lately which has made me rest properly, and I'm starting to sew again a bit at a time. Right now I'm finishing off the quilting on the Crazy Women quilt.
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I ran a bit late with the BJP piece for March, and only finished it the other week. At least I got April done straight afterwards, and I may try to get May done at the start of the month. With any luck I'll be moving flat this summer, so I'm trying to get ahead on the craft stuff.

Read more... )
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Having chosen a top fabric at last, I have started to think about designing the Welsh quilting for the owl wholecloth quilt. I've done a little Welsh quilting so far, and I know that I love it and plan to keep on with it, especially for traditional or geometric quilts. A typical Welsh quilt will involve various different patterns which you have to draft yourself. Now, my grip is poor and my hands aren't all that steady, and I am crap at drawing. Something to guide me is really useful. So I'm planning to place an order with the Stencil Company. It won't be cheap, and the shipping alone will be a good tenner, but I think I know enough about my quilting habits by now to know what will be useful.

Looking at a variety of Welsh quilts and also my books on the subject, the following shapes recur again and again: circles, squares (oten on point), double or triple lines, spirals, leaves, hearts, paisleys, flowers (including tulips and roses), fans, cables, zigzags, lines radiating out from the centre of a circle. Read more... )
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I have at long last found a good fabric for the owl wholecloth. It's a lovely warm yellow, lighter than the marigold yellow on the owl fabric so that it won't be overwhelming, but an excellent colour match. You can see it in the photo below sitting on top of the quilt, with random eyebrow designs done to test out threads. I will order it now, but I have to finish quilting the turquoise/green baby quilt first, quilt the Crazy Women quilt, which will be my first foray into using thicker thread (perle #8, with correspondingly bigger stitches), and at the least get started on quilting the seashell quilt. This will give me a chance to mull over threads and binding choices. I could use the stronger yellow/orange batik fabric which I've put in the photo below the owl fabric, or I could pick out an orange or pink from the quilt, or else I could use this fabric from the same range, which might be a bit dark, hard to tell. I'm including a photo of a quilt the manufacturer has put together with lots of fabrics from the same range. The two fabrics in question aren't right next to each other, and it's a small photo, but you can at least see them near each other. Is flannel a practical fabric to use for binding? Alternatively, and having now tested out more of my fabrics near the combination, something like this would make a lovely binding (also shown below).

As for thread, the photo shows a perle #8 in a medium-deep pink on the right, and two strands of 40 wt quilting cotton in a darker fuchsia on the left. The right hand thread is one I could get in a perle #12, whereas the left hand thread isn't, it's just the only thread of any sort I have in that colour, and the nearest equivalent would be this. For the first one, you can get slightly different colours in the same range: the one I have right now is col. 28, and I am finding it hard to tell whether there's one which is basically just a slightly darker verion of the same pink. At the moment, I think the lighter thread looks better of the two samples, but then it has a stronger effect because it's in a thicker thread, and I was thinking of using perle #12 for this one. That said, it shows up so strongly as #8 that it should still show up pretty well as #12, and it would interfere with the owl fabric on the back of the quilt less. I think I will wait and see how the Crazy Women quilt turns out, and by that time I will know whether I want to do an entire wholecloth in perle #8 (I suspect not). It'll also give me a chance to see whether I have visual trouble working with the deeper pink/red threads.

Photo time! )
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I picked up this owl flannel fabric a while back because I simply couldn't resist. It is cream (not white as in the photo, which looks a bit bleached out) with owls and small dots scattered over it in shades of rich golden yellow, orange, pink, and a tiny bit of purple. The plan is to use it as the backing to a baby quilt, where the front is a single piece of plain or semi-plain fabric which I will do as a Welsh wholecloth quilt. Patterned backings of this sort aren't usual for wholecloth quilts, but who cares, it's going to be a baby quilt for my friend DG and I'm sure it will still be lovely. She came around yesterday, loved the fabric, and mentioned that she is perfectly happy to use pink for a boy, and that indeed her mother has given her some spare baby clothes in pink.

Meanwhile, I am dithering over the other side. Pink is out, I don't like it much, and I don't want to do purple either. Should I go for:

1) Yellow fabric with quilting in red standard quilting thread - while standard quilting thread doesn't always show up well, this level of contrast would. One snag here is that I'm having trouble finding a matching yellow, it's darker and orangier than most of the ones out there.

2) Orange fabric, perhaps a little lighter than the fairly deep orange in the owl fabric, with cream quilting thread. Possibly perle cotton #8, which is quite a lot thicker than standard quilting thread and will show up nicely. Perle #8 is getting popular these days for the "big stitch" quilting technique, you can look it up fairly easily in Google Image.

3) Turquoise blue fabric, with perle #8 (ordinary quilting thread wouldn't really show up) in cream and/or deep yellow, possibly even a bit of hot pink thrown in. Using more than one colour could be fun, though I'd need to spend a while working with some traditional Welsh wholecloth patterns to see whether it would work out or whether it would just look wrong. I'm also not sure if I want to be staring at a huge stretch of that strong a blue while quilting.

I'm trying to take into consideration how much the quilting on the top will interfere with the owl print on the back. I think that as long as I keep it to either a standard quilting thread, which shows more as indentations than colour on the back (hand-quilting, remember), or perle cotton in cream or yellow, where you'll see bits on the back but they'll blend in nicely with the general fabric, I should be OK.

Photo of the owl fabric with a few other fabrics next to it )
lobsterdesigns: (Waterlily quilt)
I am planning three posts for today or soon, so watch this space.

You know how I'm participating in the 2011 Bead Journal Project? The rules are that you make one piece per month, sticking to the same shape and size (5" square for me this year), and in theory you are in some way journalling your feelings about the month, though I think many of us just go for whatever colours and patterns we're drawn to at the time. I'm currently waiting for supplies to turn up to make my March piece. Anyway, I woke up with the idea of making the 2012 BJP an interpretation of Bartok's opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle. Go and read about it here, and if you're so inclined, prowl about on Amazon.com and listen to extracts, say this recording. I absolutely adored this opera throughout my adolescence, it's the most amazingly evocative work, dark and beautiful and bright and cruel.

There are seven rooms, each with a different meaning and assigned a different colour of light. Read more... )
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My hands have been hurting lately, probably due to the joys of ME/CFIDS plus somewhat overenthusiastic quilting a few days ago. I really need to avoid overusing them when they get like this, I had RSI for a month last summer, and quilting is not something that makes them happy. Modest amounts of piecing, on the other hand, I can sometimes get away with. The other day, I finally labelled sections of my needle case with S11 (#11 sharps), A10 (#10 appliqué needles) and so forth. I put in quilting needles, but I keep my quilting kit in a small tupperware box for portability, and the needle case needed to be rolled up to get into it and still took up half of it. Since I only need my quilting betweens for quilting, I made a nice neat little needle case just for them tonight. I made a right pig's ear of the ribbon with the press stud on it, the first time I sewed it in the wrong way around and the second time I got it right but with the press stud on the right side and upside down! That's why there's a bit of beading on it, to hide where I poked at the ribbon. Anyway, I'm quite proud of it, and it's a cute little thing.

Small needle case for quilting betweens Small needle case for quilting betweens - inside

It's two layers of flannel and a layer of quilting cotton. It's also made me realise that I can do this for the two needle cases I owe [livejournal.com profile] mirrorshard and [livejournal.com profile] elfbystarlight, both of which I pieced ages (years?) ago but never got around to making up because the self-adhesive felt I used for mine was such a bugger to work with. You can see them, along with mine on the top left, here.
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I have a feeling that I have enough quilts planned that I am not quite sure what I should make when, so here's an attempt to organise it.

Because this really is not that exciting a post )
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There were two leftover blocks that didn't make it into the quilt. The first is a crazy block using three very similar fabrics, so there wasn't enough contrast for it to sit well with the others. I plan to make a matching cushion with it, as it is fine as a stand-alone piece, and to have fun with embroidery.

The second has a photo below. This was quite an interesting slant on the original brief, with a pixelated design instead of a crazy quilt block. So again it didn't sit well with the others as a quilt, but I think it could make a very effective wall hanging. I was a little unsure about the pixelated look, it's not my usual approach to things, but it's nicer than I thought once I stepped back a bit, and hey, challenges are good for me!

Photo - not terribly work-safe - and thoughts on borders )

Quick note

Friday, 18 March 2011 12:45 pm
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When I set up my Dreamwidth account, I did so because some people outside LiveJournal were having difficulty accessing my LiveJournal quilting blog. Unfortunately, I've now found that not everyone can access the DW version, and others just find it more of a hassle. I had originally disabled commenting in the LJ cross-post so that I didn't have to deal with two sets of discussions on the same topic, but I've now realised that it didn't really solve the problem, plus it's not as if this is a busy blog anyway.

So commenting on [livejournal.com profile] elettariaquilts is back up! Apologies for any inconvenience caused in the meantime. I'll be checking both posts for comments, don't worry. I can't apply this retrospectively, so if you've seen a older post you want to discuss but you can't comment on it, just let me know and I'll be happy to chat about it elsewhere.
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I proudly present the Crazy Women quilt top. As there is one rather risqué block in there (it's the same one as before, if you've already looked at the blocks), I'm putting it under a cut.

Photos and thoughts on quilting )
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And here it is in all its glory, the Bead Journal Project piece for last month. It was quite a hard month and I wasn't in the mood for complex beading, so I picked a soothing green and went for simple straight lines. They took longer than expected, of course, and not all of my bugle beading lines turned out dead straight, but the overall effect is still pretty and as usual, I learnt something from it (mainly how to get my bugle beading lines straighter!). I'll try to start the March one soon, the fabric I'm planning for it should be here any day now, as I hate doing this near the end of the month and feeling pressured by the deadline.

BJP Feb 2011
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I've had this quilt sitting around for about nine months because I haven't had the faintest idea what to do with it. I suspected that it was best suited to free-motion machine quilting, and as I can't use a sewing machine that wasn't something I could just pick up overnight. However, my hand quilting has improved a lot since then, my stitches are smaller, I'm less afraid of seam allowances, and most importantly, I've learned more about quilting patterns. I remembered that there's a competition coming up which it's ideally suited to, as the theme is "Beside the Sea", and having just checked, the deadline is early July. Plenty of time, even if I quilt it quite densely, and at 22" x 26" I can afford to.

So here is my first idea, based on chatting with someone who brought up spirals. You can't go wrong with a good spiral!

Shell quilt - quilting pattern 1
Original pieced top below the cut )
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Below the cut: baby Noah with his quiltlet. As the proud uncle put it, he hasn't quite learned how to stay still for the camera yet! He's six weeks old. They really are the best photos, quilts with babies on them.

Read more... )
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I owe you guys an apology. I had a good reason for moving my quilting blog here, but I didn't do a very good job of it! The reason, in case you missed it, was that I have only just discovered that if you're not logged into LJ, trying to view an LJ post will bring up an ad that covers the whole page before you can get to the blog post. It's intrusive, it's easy to click on the ad by mistake, and there have been incidents on LJ where the ad in question was actually malware. My main LJ blog is something I only really share with other folks on LJ, but the quilting blog is something I frequently refer people to who are not only not on LJ, but quite often only have a basic knowledge of computers and will be more than usually put off by interstitial ads. So DW was the obvious move.

Unfortunately, I'm still very much getting used to DW, and I didn't realise that while OpenID is very easy to use, the default settings for DW didn't permit anyone to comment unless they had a DW account! I've now fixed this. If you have an account with LJ, Blogger or a variety of other places, you should be able to sign in very easily with OpenID now. It takes a bit longer the first time, it takes you back to your original blog and asks for permission and so forth, but on the other hand you then have an option to stay logged in with OpenID on DW, so that after that, commenting should be no harder than commenting on LJ. (Which is more than I can say for Blogger, which subjects you to all sorts of nonsense including CAPTCHAs every single time.) You can also comment anonymously, in which case please remember to sign the comment so that I know who it's from.

I promise that I will continue to cross-post to [livejournal.com profile] elettariaquilts, so that you can keep on following that on your friends list, and indeed so that I can keep following it that way. I've disabled comments over there, as I really can't handle two sets of comments on the one post, but there will always be a link to the DW post which will show how many comments are on there. Unfortunately, the image for the number of comments is a little small and blurry: does anyone know how to make it larger?
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I made an entire quilt today! Well, it's a basic thing with a piece of flannel for each side and then simply tied, and I confess that I embroidered the recipient's name on it a couple of days ago, but hey, it's still quilty. It was great fun, and I now plan to buy a couple more fabrics from the same owl range and put them aside for future baby quiltlets.

Noah's quilt 2

One more photo and some burbling )

Another finish!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011 08:54 pm
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Well, mostly. I still have to sign it and make a little hanging sleeve, which I think I'll do tomorrow as I'm feeling lazy. I present to you the final version of Dr F's quilt. It's 8 1/2" x 16", pieced, beaded, and with organza ribbon/satin cord/cotton thong.

Dr F's quilt - final version

ETA: You do know that you can still comment even though I've moved the journal, folks? Go to the little link at the bottom of each post where it directs you to the DreamWidth original post, and then you can sign in using OpenID (takes about three seconds) if you don't have a DW account.

ETA2: I've just realised that the automatic settings for this DW blog weren't allowing non-DW commenters. That has now been fixed, and it should be very easy to comment without having to register with anything.
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Now that I'm feeling a bit more confident about beading, it's time to get back to peering thoughtfully at Dr F's wallhanging-to-be. I am still fairly stuck but at least I've started sketching. While the designs are very much in the early stages, I thought I may as well ask my lovely readers for ideas now. I have been thinking of doing a border design all the way down the left and in the top half of the right borders, and then continuing the curved lines into the border in the bottom right. I have lots of beads available as well as embroidery threads, a couple of colours of 3mm organza ribbon, cotton thong and satin cord, and I was thinking of using those along the curved seam lines, though I may not.

Read more... )
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I proudly present to you January, my first Bead Journal Project piece.

BJP January 2011


It's 5" square, as all my pieces will be, and of course hasn't photographed terribly well, between my crappy photography skills (honestly, I can't even hold the camera still half the time) and the difficulty of photographing beads, especially the little mirrors at the centre of each circle. It may be helpful to say that I made a great deal of use of this grey bead mix. I started by drawing three circles onto paper, doing it again with the next size down circle templates (really useful, though beware that the edges aren't well cut and the lines are often askew), and then drawing branching curves in the gaps. I don't think I really thought properly about trees until I had the circles beaded and was filling in the lines, and then I realised what I'd made.

Accidental Schubert )

Start of a new year

Thursday, 6 January 2011 03:25 pm
lobsterdesigns: (Fish baby quilt)
I don't generally do New Year's Resolutions, but this year I was inspired by Mathematical Doodling and have just bought a shiny new diary. The plan is to try to doodle every day, which I know will seem laughably forced to some, but I've never been an improviser and it's high time I started!

Stitchy stuff )
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I've been considering making a wallhanging for my GP for a while now. She is an absolute treasure, and when you have ME you really appreciate that. I noticed that she was wearing turquoise for one visit, which suits me as I adore turquoise. She was here today for blood tests, and she admired the turquoise/pale green baby quilt which I've just started the quilting on. So I think turquoise is definitely the way to go, especially since it works well for a nice cheery wallhanging. It's occurred to me that I might be able to rustle something up for Christmas if I get to work on it now, and I think it would be good for me to do a quick art quilt project. A bit of brainstorming )
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Thread-basting a quilt: ignore the last couple of inches when doing the herringbone basting, then go around and baste all the way around the edge, spacing the stitches more closely than usual. Or rather, this is what I wished I'd done when basting the current quilt!

Ergonomics: the Cotton Patch (and other places) have started stocking the Creative Comfort range of hand supports. They look most intriguing, but not terribly cheap, and no one is quite sure which would be the best for using while hand-quilting, especially with my RSI, tendinitis and ME taken into consideration. After spending a while looking at ordinary fingerless gloves and the like, I finally realised that the cheapest and easiest solution is to take a pair of scissors to an old sock. I now have a pale blue sock which I never really liked on my right hand, with the toe cut off (that's the elbow end) and a hole for my thumb. I've slathered red Tiger Balm underneath, though I managed to get a bit of that on the top of the sock - sorry, wrist warmer - when rolling it onto my arm. It's a bit early to tell how comfortable this will be, but it's allowing me to get Tiger Balm onto my forearm, wrist, and part of my hand, without wrecking my clothes or risking getting it in my eyes, and my arm is feeling less painful. I may be better off getting something with a proper bit that goes around the base of the thumb, though, as the thumb hole isn't wildly comfortable and I may want to put Tiger Balm around its base (or diclofenac gel, come to that). These, say. Do you think that one size fits all will be OK on small hands? I'm only 4'11 (150cm). And should I go for something that has little bits around the base of all my fingers as well as my thumb? The fingers on my right hand are now a bit cold, but I don't know whether that's from the Tiger Balm feeling cold or because I'm restricting my circulation in some way that I shouldn't.

For anyone who missed the announcements in [livejournal.com profile] elettaria and [livejournal.com profile] quilting, I won first prize for the Hoffman challenge. Photos here and here.
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I don't know if I'll bother entering the next quilt competition, but I am at least contemplating it. The theme is "flying high", and I'm starting to gather ideas. So far I have, both from me and friends (well, [livejournal.com profile] scien so far):

1. Icarus. (Not getting anywhere with this one yet.)

2. Earth as seen from space as background, and a falling feather in the foreground. (Probably a bit cutesy, but there might be an environmental angle somewhere.)

3. Consider the Brittle Joys cover.

4. Look at the Gaydar Angels.

5. Pterodactyls

6. Think about what the phrase brings to mind, what I like and dislike about that, how it relates to likely quilts others might make, what I like and dislike about those.

For instance, On the Wings of a Dream is exactly the sort of quilt that tends to win these competitions. It's a highly skilled quilt, of course, but I've seen that style so often that I am rather sick of it by now, and in a few ways it is precisely what I don't want to be sewing. The way it's done with strips like that, the ribbons that shade through the colours of the rainbow, the woman bounding forward as if inspired, the angel motif. Of course, if I do end up making this quilt, there will have to be some sort of joke about how I hate feathers!


(I've put up the final photos of the Isis quilt at [livejournal.com profile] elettaria, and will doubtless do a proper final post here sooner or later.)

Welsh quilting

Monday, 20 September 2010 12:17 pm
lobsterdesigns: (Default)
Not long ago, I fell in love with Welsh quilting. While America is undoubtedly the home of an incredible variety of patchwork blocks, the quilting, as in the stage when you go through all three layers with thread (let's call the overall process Quilting to distinguish them), has always left me cold. Modern free-motion quilters such as Leah Day are doing fantastic things, but the traditional quilting patterns are rather limited, sometimes twee, and designs such as the omnipresent feathers just don't do it for me.

I discovered Welsh quilting through a stunning red wholecloth quilt in one of Barbara Chainey's books, and was moved to buy Making Welsh Quilts. It's a fantastic book, containing a thorough discussion of Welsh quilting, photo gallery, projects, and a particularly useful bit at the back which assigns a page to each common motif, such as paisleys, hearts, spirals, leaves, gives a host of examples of how to vary them, and good clear instructions on pattern drafting. I've also found an excellent blog about Welsh quilting, Welsh Quilts, and you can see many beautifully photographed examples intelligently discussed there. The patterns in Welsh quilting really speak to me, being at once classic yet fresh and modern as well. The designs are graceful and elegant, with great scope for creativity yet easy to put together once you know the basic principles.

My second cousin is due to have a baby in about a month, and naturally it took me mere seconds to offer her a baby quilt when I heard the news. Plans for my first Welsh quilt )

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