Wednesday, 22 August 2007

KTQ (knitter turned quilter)

I'm hiding out over here (away from my knitting blog) in order to make a secret project for my first niece who is due in November. My main craft is knitting but I have done sewing in the past and was really looking for an opportunity to do some again. I wanted whatever I did to be a practical project - I have too many finished cross-stitch projects which are just rolled up in bags because I never got around to framing them - and dress-making seemed a bit scary. I also have a long term aim of being able to make a king size quilt (of the sort that I could never afford to buy) for my bedroom. But first things first.

My First Project

It all started at the Festival of Quilts at the N.E.C. last Saturday. I went with the best of intentions. I would buy only some buttons and beads to jazz up a pair or socks or garnish a sweater.

Initially I did very well, indeed I made it to lunch without spending a bean. I resisted the lovely flowery fabrics and the great 3-D cross-stitched cards (I have a dark and murky cross-stitching past). Alas I finally fell over at the Quilt Room and when I got up again I'd somehow acquired a bundle of 6 fat quarters and a metre of snail and pea pod print fabric by Anna Griffin (who does some truly lovely stuff). To be fair I was in good company as Katie also got a metre of the snail fabric and everyone agreed it was just too cute to pass up.

Snail fabric

Fat quarters

It wasn't actually all the amazing quilts that inspired me to have a go myself, rather one or two simple quilts that made me think "I can probably do this". In particular I saw one quilt which would be perfect for a baby and I started to think about quilting, rather than knitting, a baby blanket for my first niece. I wanted to find fabrics which were cute and suitable for a girl but not overly so and the bundle I picked up at the Quilt Room is just perfect I think.

I'm planning to use the 6 fat quarters to create a top piece measuring about 80 x 100 cm using 24 rectangles (something nice and straightforward to start with). The backing will be the incredibly sweet snail and pea fabric. I may then add some appliqued detail on top of that but I don't need to start planning that until I see how the initial quilting goes.

Rather than cut out my pieces and then try to arrange them I decided (being a newbie quilter) to take digital photos of my fabric and then use Paint to cut and paste scale rectangles into patterns.

Pattern idea 1:

quilt idea 1

Pattern idea 2:

quilt idea 2

Pattern idea 3:

quilt idea 3

I'm so pleased I did this as I felt so nervous about cutting into my fabric. I know I'll feel a lot more confident if I have a clear plan for my quilt before I start.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Festival of Quilts

Last weekend Katie, Lara, Kim (Katie's sister) and I all piled into Lara's little car and headed off to the N.E.C. in Birmingham for the festival of Quilts. Of the four of us only Kim is a quilter (at least that was the state of affairs at the start of the day) but I'm always happy to look at beautiful fabrics and amazing colours.

There were so many stunning quilts at the show. This was my favourite:

Imaginasaurus quilt

I also really liked these (well I am a knitter!):

Knot stitch quilt

Cable sweater quilt

Lara and I got to have a go on a huge free stitching sewing machine - so cool.

Lara stitching

We only saw the "free form" quilts sectiobn on our way out. This one's for Felix!

Cake corset

We saw ome gorgeous quilts by Kaffe Fasset at the Rowan stand plus the man himself. We tried (and failed) not to act too fan girly (there was much giggling and surreptitious staring).

I lurve this one. Luckily Lara now has the book so maybe I can make it in a year or ten when I have the time, skill and money!

Kaffe fasset quilt

Lovely Rowan fabrics:

Rowan fabrics

I can see whole new opportunities for stashing arising!