British Quilt and Stitch Village

Phew! what a busy weekend, it was lovely to see everyone. We had a lovely time, but it seems that some of the visitors were a little disappointed – there were fewer traders this year and certainly fewer quilts to look at.

What can we do? If we don’t support our local show, we will lose it!

I’ m as much to blame as the next person, I was going to enter a quilt, but didn’t quite find the time to finish it. I thought ‘oh, it won’t matter they’ll be plenty of others’, but of course, if everybody thought like that they’d be none at all. So I am determined to get it finished for next year – I’m not bothered about winning ( but I will try my best) it’s more important to support the show and who knows, my quilt might inspire someone else to try patchwork & quilting for the first time.

Without quilts to look at there will be less visitors and with less visitors, the traders will not do so well and will not want to attend.

It takes a lot as a trader to prepare for a show, it takes me weeks (if not months) to get everything ready – making up samples, getting kits together, cutting up fabric and generally fretting as to whether I have the ‘right stuff’ that people will want to spend their hard earned money on. So if you don’t get a good return, it puts you off attending again.

So please, please try to enter a quilt next year, it will be good enough and you don’t have to read the judges comments, they come in a sealed envelope, bring them to me and I will look at them and tell you all the good bits!

Encourage your friends to visit and support the traders – we know you don’t need anymore fabric but there maybe a little bit you can’t live without!

Sorry for the rant, but I feel quite passionately about this (can you guess) it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks, it’s our local show let’s support it and keep it going.

Panel bag

I have quite a few panels at the shop. They are great for quick quilts, especially chidren’s quilts. Some of the panels are made up of smaller pictures and these can be cut up and made into cushions, table-runners and placemats and I like to make them into bags.

I thought that I would share with you how I make a panal bag.

At the moment I have the ‘Promise of Spring’ panel which is super cute with bunnies in teacups.

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I chose two of the panels and 3 of the coordinating  fabrics, you could choose 4 if you wanted different fabric for your handles.

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Fabric amounts :                                                                                                                                                 2 panels                                                                                                                                                                  1 Fat Quarter for bag sides.                                                                                                                             1/2 metre for bag top, bottom and handles ( if you want a different fabric for handles – a long quarter for handles and a fat quarter for bag top and bottom)                                                  1/2 metre for bag lining.

I work with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Cut the pieces for the bag sides – measure the height of your panel this will be the length of your strip (my panel measures 12″) Cut a 3 1/2″ wide strip and cut to the length of your panel. You’ll need 4 strips. (Take care if your fabric is directional.)

Sew these strips to each side of your panels.

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Measure the width of your panel now -including the added strips.                                                  For the bag bottom – cut a 3 1/2″wide strip and cut two pieces the same measurement as your panel.                                                                                                                                                            Sew them to the bottom of each panels                                                                                                     For the bag top – cut a 2″ wide strip and cut two pieces the width of the panel.                         Sew these to the top of each panel.

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Layer the panels on top of a piece of wadding that is slightly bigger than your panel.

Quilt the panel as you wish.I quilted around the edge of the panel ‘in the ditch’ and around the bunnies, followed the lines in the stripey fabric on the top and bottom and a bit of ‘free-motion’ on the sides.

Make your handles – cut two 4 1/2″ wide strips from the width of fabric.                                     Fold the strip in half length ways and flatten the fold. Open the strip out again and fold the  edges into the middle using the crease as a guide. Fold back in half and sew along the folded edge about 1/8″ in from the edge. Sew down the opposite edge. Repeat with the other strip.

 

 

You now have two handles – you can cut them to your desired length. I like mine slightly longer because I like to slip them over my shoulder, but you might want shorter ones, just remember to add an extra 1/2″ to your desired length for seam allowance.

Sew the handles to the top of the panels measuring 4″ in from the side edge.

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Place the raw edges of the handle against the top edge of the panel. Sew a rectangle at the top of the strap and sew across the diagonals to give extra strength, about 1/2″ deep.              Repeat on the remaining 3 strap edges.

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Join the two panels together along the bottom, place right sides together and sew along the bottom edge.

Cut the lining fabric – the same size as the two panels sewn together.Place the lining rights sides together with the panels.

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Sew the lining across the top of the bag, encasing the handles, 1/2″ down from the raw edges.

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Take the two top seams and line them up together, so that the lining is right sides together and the panels are right sides together.

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Sew down from the top to the bottom on one side.

On the other side, sew along the edge but leave about a 4″ gap in the middle of the lining edge.

 

Box the corners – take the corner and flatten out so the seams and fold of the bottom are lined up and it forms a triangle – measure 1 1/2″ down from the point of the triangle this will give you a 3″ line from edge to edge, draw along the line, then sew along the drawn line and trim 1/4″ away from sewn line, cutting the triangle off.

Do this on all 4 corners.

Pull the bag through the gap in the lining and poke the corners out.                                               Hand sew the gap closed.

Oversew the top edge of your bag, sewing about 1/8″ in from the edge.

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Enjoy your bag and all the compliments you’ll get from having such a gorgeous bag 🙂

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Block of the Month

Chris’s ‘Block of the Month’ this year is quite interesting she has added a little twist – in so much as she has created four versions of a block in various degrees of difficulty, from one suitable for beginners up to a quite difficult one with lots of pieces and seam matching!

February’s block’s moved on from January’s ‘Strips and Squares’ to adding in ‘Half Square Triangles’

The magic of these blocks became apparent with the different fabric placements – even the simplest version could look quite different. This is what I think fascinates me about patchwork, how the same pattern can look so different just with different colour and pattern placement.

The results look stunning I’m sure you’ll agree. I can hardly wait to see what March’s block looks like the combinations of ‘Nine Patch Stars’ are going to be a joy to behold I’m sure.

‘I’m useless with colour’.

This is a phrase I hear so often  – I actually don’t think it’s true.                                                      I’m of the opinion if you like the colours together then it will work and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

However, I thought that I would share my process for matching colour with you.

Barbara has signed up to the ‘Trip around the World’ class in April and she’d seen the ‘Summer breeze IV’ fabric from Moda and asked if I could help her choose the rest of the fabrics.

For ‘Trip around the World’ we need 10 fabrics, so by Barbara choosing the range she had, we had 4 to start with….

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Two pretty florals with a tone on tone blue and yellow.

So firstly we looked at the blue, I suggested that we choose a shade darker and lighter

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and the same with the yellow

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I then suggest we had a contrasting colour and looking at the floral print, we chose a green in light and medium shade

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So there you have it 10 fabrics chosen ready for what I think will be a stunning looking quilt.

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My best advise to you would be – if you have a patterned fabric you love the colours of; use that to inspire your colour choices, you may not use the original fabric but you will have colours you like and that work together. Failing that come into the shop and I’ll love to help 🙂

Show and tell

Saturday saw the last of this months ‘Block of the Month’ classes. This month Chris has been teaching cutting strips and squares, using a rotary cutter and ruler. With four patterns to choose from the results have been fantastic.

Jessica has joined her Mum for this course, Jess is 13 and was one of our ‘little stitchers’ last Summer. It’s so lovely to see a young person really enjoy sewing and I’m sure we’ll see some fabulous things from Jess – she had a little play with one of her units in the afternoon and made it into a coaster.

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Next month’s classes will be looking at half square triangles – I look forward to sharing the results with you.

A couple of weeks ago our Friday morning ‘Sew Social’ group had asked me if I’d show them how to do the ‘Trip around the World’ technique, which I was happy to do and this week we saw some near completed quilt tops.

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Donna admires Sheila’s rainbow ‘Trip around the World’

Ruth was unsure of the lay-out for her quilt….

So we put it to the vote and decided on Option 2.

It’s the first Staffordshire Patchworker and Quilters meeting  of the new year on Thursday (2nd Feb) I will be the meetings trader, I shall be bringing lots of sale pieces so be prepared to grab some bargains,but if there’s anything you’d like me to bring please let me know, I’ll be happy to help.

Look forward to seeing you there.                                                                                                                  Jane x

New Year, New Classes…

Do you remember the excitement of starting a new year at school? That lovely feeling of opening a new exercise book and writing those first words (and did you always try to use your neatest writing?)

We have started our new ‘Block of the Month’ this week and our technique of the month ‘Frame Quilt’.

I’m incredibly lucky to have the support and encouragement of Chris Franses, she has 30 plus years experience in teaching patchwork and quilting, designs and writes quilt patterns and writes the monthly column ‘Wandering the Web’ for British Patchwork & Quilting magazine.                                                                                                                                      She has designed this years classes and the ‘Block of the Month’ is very clever. Chris has designed each monthly block so that can be made in four different skill levels – this means that anyone from beginners to accomplished stitchers can take part and can make as many of the versions as they wish.

This month’s block is an exercise in perfecting measuring and cutting techniques and making strips and squares.

As you can see the first two classes have been very productive.

 

The first ‘frame quilt’ class was all about design this month and Chris brought her EQ7 programme in and helped the ladies with colour and design ideas. I’m really looking forward to seeing them come to life.

Alison bought her quilt to show us – made from four of last years roll-over quilts

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Alison is working on joining the others, which will something to look forward to.

Sheila had completed her 2016 ‘block of the month’ before Christmas because she was giving it as a gift

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I’m sure you’ll agree it looks fabulous, Sheila’s quilted it beautifully.

I can’t wait to sharing more of last years completed projects with you and results from this years classes.

Happy to Help

One of the things I love most about having my little shop is helping customers with their fabrics. I love fabric and colour (probably a good thing when you own a fabric shop!) and people often comment that I have a lovely selection and the shop is bright and colourful.

I also love teaching customers the basics of patchwork and quilting, it’s lovely to see them grow in confidence as the weeks go on and watch as they learn the different techniques. I always feel I’ve done a good job when they start to ask what they can do next, before they’ve finished their first project.

I have helped lots of ladies over last few years to learn the joy of patchwork and nearly all of them have continued to try other projects, some of them making new friendships along the way and forming their own little sewing groups that like to come and sew together at the shop. This gives me immense pleasure and makes me feel quite proud.

An example of this was just before Christmas, when I helped Heather to create a quilt for her son. She came to the shop to join one of our ‘Absolute Beginner’ course at the beginning of the year, and after completing that, she made a bag and a table runner and is really enjoying the fun that is patchwork.Heather had bought a panel with a picture of a wolf on it, but didn’t know what she wanted to do with it other than use it to make a quilt for her son who loves wolves. A friend gave her some fabrics that went with it and so we then started to work on a design. I chose ‘log cabin’ block and we chose rich browns and warm creams to compliment the colours in the panel and a deep teal blue and together we worked out a design. I decided it would be slightly easier to quilt is using the ‘quilt as you go’ method and so Heather made it in 3 sections.

I think you will agree she did a great jobheathers-wolf-quilt

and I know her son loved it.

We’re already starting on the next project – it involves ‘flying geese’ – watch this space!