Friday, 16 April 2010

The Frankenstein Cat

This is Chunky. It’s a counted cross stitch kit which I purchased way back in 1989/1990. From memory, I think it was a DMC kit called Fluffy Kitten and is possibly on 18hpi Aida. It took months and months to complete. Well, more like years really because I was a bit disappointed with it. It finally got framed in 1994.

It was the first counted cross stitch project that I had ever attempted. And yes, I made mistakes right from the start, hence the disappointment. Unfortunately, I didn’t know I had got it wrong until half of the face had been pretty much completed. There was no way I was going to unpick any of it at that stage!

My first mistake was not really understanding what was meant by two strands of the fabric. My second was not realising that the threads can be separated into 6 individual strands and when the chart said use one strand it didn’t mean a whole thread of all 6 strands.

These two seemingly trivial errors led to two unavoidable facts. The finished article is about twice the size that it should have been, chunkier in the face than it should have been and I started to run out of threads and space on the fabric.

I had already put a fair bit of time and energy into this so binning it wasn’t an option. Instead, I bought more threads in colours which were as close a match as possible and used one strand of old and new together. When the old finally ran out, I switched to two strands of the new colours. This has led to the feet having a fluffier appearance than the rest of him. I also had to miss whole rows of stitches out and mingle a few lines together to keep the shape, particularly with the ears and the legs.

So all in all, it could have been a bit of a disaster. However, it did teach me something. Never give up. Mistakes are just things which didn’t go according to plan and can be rectified. You might not be able to fix it so you can go back to your original plan but, they can be turned around to be a positive change. Resolving mistakes might even lead to something being a lot better than expected. Overall, I’m happy with Chunky. He's my monster cat. He isn’t perfect, but then neither am I.

This is the one I am working on at the minute. It’s called Born Free and is part of DMC’s Pollyanna Pickering collection. It’s on 28hpi evenweave and is currently on track to be the right texture and size. ☺

There are some small unintentional deviations from the chart in there. These are just my way of adding a personal touch!
Bye for Now


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Animal Family Quilt

I put this quilt together over Christmas 2009.  The top is made up of pillow panels and the backing fabric is cotton lawn with an all over parrot design.  All the fabric has been in my stash for years as I didn't really know what to make with any of it. 

Inspiration is a bit weird isnt it?  You can rack your brains trying to think of something and nothing comes to mind.  Then, all of a sudden, it just hits you.  Literally in my case.  I was in our attic, sorting through the stuff in readiness for our forthcoming house move. I was going through my fabric stash.  Honestly, its amazing how much you can collect over a short space of time.  I'd got a pile of stuff to get rid of and a pile of stuff to keep.  Well anyway, one of the piles slid a little and knocked over some wadding I had still attached to its cardboard roll which was leaning against the wall.   It fell over and smacked me across the back of my hands.   So there I was surrounded by my favourite pillow panels and some wadding.  Nothing says Quilt louder than that. 

Anyway, here it is. The finished article.  All the panels mean something to a member of my family.  The cabin fever ones, right at the top are for T, who loves the outdoors.  The horse and the donkeys are for my eldest who loves everything equestrian. The cats and the puppy are for my youngest who loves anything cute and fluffy.  The teddy bears are for me because I've got a soft spot for them.  It was a teddy bear that started my thimble collection which is covered in another blog.  

This quilt is the largest I have made so far and fits nicely onto a single bed.  My youngest loves it and sleeps under it every night.  She also says that its just the right size to snuggle into and watch some telly :)

Bye for Now



Saturday, 3 April 2010

A Springtime Quilt

This quilt was designed and made on a soggy spring weekend a couple of years ago.  The top is made from fat quarters with a pillow panel as the centre square.  A fat quarter is a piece of fabric cut to a generous quarter of a yard.  Normally 22" x 18" or thereabouts.

My girls picked out their favourite pieces and chose the order for them to appear in the quilt.  Then left me to stitch them together!  I trimmed the fabric down a bit to make sure all the squares were the right size before making the quilt sandwich. 

The quilting is fairly light on this one.  I've only gone around the outside of the squares.  I get a bit teesy quilting something this size on a sewing machine.  Rolling it up to fit under the arm of the machine and then moving it about is just too much hassle.  I didn't want to hand quilt it as this would have taken longer than the weekend to finish! 

The quilt is also self-bound.  I left the backing fabric slightly larger than the top so that it could be turned over and stitched to the front.  Another time saving solution.  Cutting extra fabric to make separate binding would have taken longer.

Anyway, regardless of the shortcuts - the girls both love it - and that's what counts.

Bye for now


Friday, 2 April 2010

A Horse Quillow

A quillow is a lap-sized quilt which folds in on itself to become a cushion or a pillow.  This is the one I made for my eldest who is seen modelling it below. Well, her fingers and elbows can be seen.  She hates cameras. She loves horses though and as I had some horse related fabric, I thought I'd put it to good use.

This is the front cover when it is folded up into a pillow.

And this is what it looks like when it is opened out to a quilt.  My eldest is behind there somewhere.
The beige looking squares don't show up too well on the photo but they are covered in little horse shoes.

Quillows are easy-ish to make.  Its two quilts in one really. The front cover panel is made up into a mini-quilt, with its own wadding (batting) and backing fabic.  Its then stitched to the back of the completed main quilt on three of its sides.  It needs to be right at the very top of the main quilt and in the middle.  On mine above, its behind the top middle beige panel. Make sure that the picture on the mini-quilt is placed face down before you stitch! (Right side facing the back of the main quilt.) Stitching it on three sides forms a pocket which the rest of the quilt can be folded up into.  The wadding needs to be kept fairly light to make folding easier.   

Everything I make needs to be usable.  I'd hate to put this much effort into something and then have it end up in a box to stop it from being spoilt.  That's why I'm tickled pink that this one is as creased as it is.  It shows that someone has been sitting on it!  

Bye for now


Daffodils & Tulips

These two cushion covers are made using the sewing technique called applique.  Both have a 3D effect which was created in different ways.  With the Tulips, it was achieved by slightly padding the pieces with wadding (batting) before stitching to the backing fabric. With the daffodils, a slight fold to bend the top petals down and then a couple of small handstitches to hold them in place.

I made these covers as part of a patchwork/quilting course at the local college just a little over six years ago.  They are looking pretty good considering they have been in continual use and washed loads of times - hence the creases and the squished daffodils!

Special thanks go to my helpful assistant, whose job it was to hold the covers while I photographed them.  Not only is she skilled in modelling cushion covers, but she is also incredibly adebt at hiding so you cant take photos of her!

Bye for Now