Hergest Helly

Stories about my art and craft…


Leave a comment

And off I go again…

Here we go again...

Here I go again…

One of my favourite bits of quilt making – embarking on a new project and selecting the fabrics and colour scheme – such anticipation…

I am using the design “Vintage Spin” from the book “Adding Layers – Color, Design and Imagination” by Kathy Doughty (which I bought for my kindle) as my starting point.  There are some great examples of the design on Kathy’s blog Material Obsession.

I also really like the lovely ones made by Wanda at her blog Exuberant Color…. (I love Wanda’s blog and her gorgeous quilts.)

My blocks are ending up 9″ square rather than the 13.5″ in the book – I prefer the look of lots of smaller blocks to quilts that have fewer big blocks – I think I just like quilts that are busy with colour and pattern and I am not so fond of large scale printed fabrics.

Instead of buying an 18 degree wedge template, I marked 18 degree lines with masking tape onto my usual ruler.  Its sort of working… it would be easier (and maybe more consistantly accurate… ) with the “proper” template, but I was impatient (as usual!) and wanted to start cutting and sewing right away!!

As I am making the blocks significantly smaller than the original pattern, I had to adjust the size of the centre appliquéd circle (from 3″ to 2″) to keep it all in proportion.  This means the seams at the middle of the block have to be pretty close together so I can use a smaller circle to cover the hole.

The picture above shows my test block – I had to make a few adjustments along the way but I think I am ready to roll now….

Happy days…


Leave a comment

My drawer of presents…

Present drawer...

Present drawer…

I like to make presents for my family and friends – for their birthdays or xmas or thank-yous or for nothing in particular.  I knit a lot of socks and save most of them for present giving.  My family say they like them (I like to believe them) and I even get requests for them…

Instead of hiding distributing these gifts around the house and then forgetting about them, I have a special drawer now in which to keep them all together.

Six pairs of socks is not enough for xmas – so I need to get knitting!  I do have 2 pairs waiting to be sewn up and 4 pairs on the needles at the moment.  I am also sewing mug mats and bags – I may need a bigger drawer!

Thinking about knitted presents has reminded me of my gran.  She knitted constantly – tea cosies, bed socks and hot water bottle covers… and all the women in the family got one (or more) of those for xmas.  I don’t think I really appreciated it at the time – I didn’t wear bed socks (still don’t) – didn’t use a teapot – didn’t put a cover on my hot water bottle.  But I do have the very last tea cosy she knitted – its red and white – and its very precious.  I think I might be turning into my gran….

Happy days…


Leave a comment

Slowly hand quilting…

I enjoy hand quilting.

I hand quilted my first quilt:

My first quilt - "Circles and Stars" - finished 1996

My first quilt – “Circles and Stars” – finished 1996 – with Merlin

… a king sized bed quilt… with the tiniest stitches I could manage and it was a total pleasure to do.

This scrappy quilt is much smaller and I am quilting it using a size 12 cotton thread in a lemon/lime colour – and this time making larger stitches.  I like the effect, I think its going to be quite pretty.

Stitch, stich, stitch...

Stitch, stich, stitch…

I have stitched all the main diagonal lines which form the diamond shapes and now I am stitching inside the diamonds… very simple lines.

Anyway – I am finding the process of stitching slowly rather meditative and relaxing and because I ironed all the seams open (rather than to one side) the quilt is nice and flat and there is never any more than 2 layers of quilt top to stitch through.

Although I started with quite big stitches, they are getting smaller… its hard to keep them all the same size.  Its plodding along quite nicely at the moment but as I love the look of intensive quilting – I think its a shame to leave large areas plain and stitch-less – I expect it will take me quite a while to complete – but hey – there is no panic – no time limit…. just a calm stitch, stitch, stitch….

Happy days…


2 Comments

Baby grapes…

What potential....

What potential….

Just look at these!!! I am delighted :-)  Last year we had ONE small bunch and that was like magic – but this year the vine has gone bonkers.  I didn’t do anything special – I have no idea how to prune it and so it was just left to its own devices over winter.

It covers part of the front of our house and this is a view through the upstairs bathroom window (thats why its a bit blurred – the window needs a clean).  The main stem of the vine has tendrils that are curling round the window handle on the inside of the window.  This happened during last summer when the windows were all open – and if I remove it, the whole vine will probably collapse… and so there it stays, connected to our bathroom (and that is also my excuse for not being able to clean the window!)

The one bunch we had last year turned purple and was sweet enough to eat but each grape had loads of seeds.  If these ripen I will be thrilled to bits!  Stay tuned….

Happy days…

PS – my greenhouse is being delivered today – I am SO excited!


Leave a comment

Scrappy trip is assembled…

Assembled...

Assembled…

All sewn up :-)

I found a sunny spot in which to take this photo so it looks much brighter and more like the original… but the design boards were at an odd angle – the quilt is basically pretty rectangular… honestly it is! :-)

Now I have to sort out the borders – or maybe have no borders… decisions…

I have thoroughly enjoyed making this so far and I love the 1″ squares.  I have started one in neutral colours but I am not sure how successful it is.  I may just need to add a few more blocks before I decide whether to continue with that.  But having had fun with this bright one, I really want to make another one – maybe in a more controlled colour palette or theme.

I have bought some striped fabric for the backing and ordered some cotton batting which should arrive tomorrow – and so I will have a jolly weekend getting the top, batting and backing pinned together and ready for quilting.  My current plan is to use a variegated yellow/lime cotton thread and make big stitches diagonally… I am really looking forward to starting the stitching…

Happy days…


2 Comments

No knitting…

How can I knit when my eyes are totally glued to the screen – episodes 8 and 9 of The Bridge… this brilliant series is having a detrimental effect on my sock production!

So, with no sock knitting to report, here is a photo of my kitties.

Sweetie Pie, Magic and Tabbycat

Sweetie Pie, Magic and Tabbycat

Magic is “ours” – the other two are actually feral but have become very tame now.   They have negotiated the cat flap, are living in our porch where they are fed and have their own bed, and are very friendly with us.  Of course, that might be something to do with the amount of food I give them :-)  But its lovely that they are safe.

Tabbycat is the big tom who has been here for over 3 years.   Sweetie Pie is the little lady who arrived 2 years ago with a litter of 3 kittens.  I fed them all and they lived under our hedge and in a makeshift shelter I made for them for a few weeks before I could catch them all and get them to our local Cats Protection League charity centre.

Sweetie and her kittens - June 2012

Sweetie and her kittens – June 2012

They found homes for the kittens and had mummy cat neutered but couldn’t home her as she was pretty wild.  So she came back to me within a couple of weeks and is now the most loving little thing although still nervous around strangers.  (I was very tempted to keep the little cream kitten, she was gorgeous – but I managed to resist… just… )

Magic and Sweetie Pie are inseparable now which is terribly sweet.  Tabbycat might be Sweetie Pie’s brother, father or “partner”… we will never know… he is very affectionate with her.  He is also pretty affectionate towards me and follows me around… and even purrs which is a huge improvement on the original hissing I used to get!  In those early days I would just put the food down, outside, and not touch him… but now I can even pick him up and give him a cuddle… wonderful progress.

Happy days….


Leave a comment

Blocks finished…

All the blocks finished...

All the blocks finished…

All the blocks are finished – sorry the photo is a bit dull, I must sort out a good place for taking photos.  I have played around a bit with the arrangement and it is already a bit different to this picture – I could tiddle around for ages as I am trying to avoid having blocks close together that contain the same fabric (that isn’t too hard as most are used only once) and trying to balance the light and dark and make sure the striped squares are dotted around fairly evenly as they tend to pop out.

I have decided where it is going to hang and so I now know its final size (approximately anyway).  So far, without borders, this will measure 60″ x 36″ when its assembled.  I think I will be doing a scrappy 3″ border all round which will make the final size 66″ x 42″.

Taking advice from my brilliant online quilting friends, I think I will quilt this by hand, using big stitches and maybe using a pearl cotton thread.  On the other hand I may get impatient to finish it and just pop it under the machine :-)  We will see….

So – today I will be playing some more with the arrangement and hopefully start assembling the blocks.  I think that is going to be a challenge as the blocks look a bit wonky to me :-)

Happy days…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.