Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Amy quilt - tips for layering a quilt

Hi all,

I just found this other photo of the Amy quilt from last week, before the builder knocked a hole in the wall and when I had layered the quilt and pinned it together. The photo shows me with Bella who had managed to sneak around the door and run across the quilt top to great me, I was aghast... her feet I thought.... but she had not just come in from the garden where she likes to dig holes, thank heavens! She was scooped up by me very quickly and Pete took the shot. If you look closely (all the piccies on the blog can be clicked on to make them bigger) you will see that Bella is giving me a friendly, sorry, type of lick. You will also see the safety pins in place where I have been busy layering the quilt.

TIP How to Layer a Quilt

If you have a big enough floor space with a fitted carpet it is easy to stretch and layer the 3 pieces together. Start with the base layer and make sure it is absolutely square and flat, no ripples must be present. Then pin with safety pins to the carpet below and stretch the fabric as you go to keep the base very taught. You do not, repeat do not close the pins, just push them well in and they will lay flat on their side. You should not have any that will stick up and prick you because you will be kneeling on the whole quilt sandwich later. These first pins stay in place and are all placed on the edges of the base layer, don't put any at all in the middle, just keep to the very edges and make sure they are all well pushed into the carpet. The idea is that the base layer cannot move!

Next lay on the wadding and flatten it and make sure it overlaps the backing fabric. Take time to smooth out any wrinkles because you do not pin the wadding at all. You don't really attempt to stretch it either and I know its hard when you are crawling about all over it but you must get it flat flat flat. (Obviously a big room helps but if you are like me then you end up on the quilt on your knees a lot.)

Next, very carefully lay on the quilt top and square it up and flatten it too. Try not to mess up the wadding as you do so, but because it was not pinned it should still respond to smoothing whilst the top will too, so you are kind of working with both. Patience is all!

So when no wrinkles are in evidence start to pin the quilt right through the 3 layers into the carpet with open safety pins like you did when you started with the base layer. Always start in the middle for this bit and work out in a circle from the middle. Keep working out gradually edging towards the sides, pin and smooth, pin and smooth. When all the quilt is pinned down stand back and assess, if any bits are not right, you guessed it, do that piece again.

Lastly, you need to close all the safety pins, start in the middle again and carefully pick up each pin, ease it slightly out of the carpet and do it up. This will give you sore fingers so be careful. Check that you have not missed any pins and that all are done up.

Now remember the base layer was first pinned round the edges only to keep it from moving so you need to go round the very edges of the quilt and remove the open pins which are just pinning the base layer only to the carpet. This frees up the whole quilt so then carefully ease the quilt sandwich up from the carpet. You have usually missed a 'middle' pin but you will feel it tug and then you can quickly do it up without any harm being done.

I have used this method very successfully and never ruined a carpet or my quilt, but obviously use some discretion, don't try it if you feel it is not for you. You need time, and good knees. The photo shows you the finished result as I had just done up the last safety pin when Bella decided to join me and you can see the surface is stretched tight and all snug.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Make hay whilst the sun shines!

Well the above saying could not be more relevant at the moment, this piccie shows my lounge as of yesterday. The new damp proof course is going in and the window is propped up. My builder could not have chosen a better week to commence this job which quite frankly I have been dreading because of the disruption.

The good news is that whilst it was very cold in the house yesterday, I did manage to hunker down and finish my double bed quilt I have been making with my Amy Butler fabric I bought at the NEC Festival of Quilts last August.

This photo is a shot of the straight line stitching which has been used extensively on the top, it was all done freehand and quite hard to do and much more time consuming than I ever imagined. I love the result though. I will try and take another photo of the quilt later in the day when the sun has gone off the room as it was difficult to photograph this morning.

Meanwhile, the banging has started again next door so Bella and I are going to spend the day either in my study or gardening.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Somewhere in Keswick a duo sit stitching

Moira and Sally, those stalwarts of the needle, have been busy getting together on Wednesday afternoons to sew bits and bobs on the wall hanging. They have nearly completed the sides which are made up of various examples of embroidery techniques and they are just about to finish off the grey fleece which was chosen a) to show off the individual pieces and b) to give a flavour of Keswick with its town full of shops selling fleece jackets.

This photo captures them mulling over those last little details which have made the hanging come to life. It also provides them with cover, yes you guessed it, they wanted the photo of them shown on the blog with their heads down....I am only here to oblige, but I do have one of them smiling too for the record. Well done the pair of you, your Chairman is very pleased with the results of your labours and I know that everyone else in the Keswick EG will agree with me.

Meanwhile, Moira also came up with a very simple recipe.


Take two slices of malt loaf per serving
Fry on both sides in butter
Dip in sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat both sides
Place on a warm serving plate
Put a slice of canned pineapple on top
Lastly pour a little of the pineapple juice over all.

This I am assured is delicious and it is also a very old and well tried recipe which Moira has made for her family. Sally showed me that you can now buy 'Soreen' malted loaf in handy two slice packs. So there you are, no excuses; if you do try it please take a photo and send it to me for the blog.

Monday, 2 March 2009

North West Region news

Hi everyone,

Some news has just arrived and it is good news for Rheged because tickets are selling well plus Anthea Godfrey the EG National Chairman and Jane Sweet the Director of the Guild will both be attending this event too.

Also please note that the 'Madeira Show' will not take place in Harrogate this year instead it has moved venue to the NEC in Birmingham on 25th - 28th March 2010.

Tickets for Summer School are going well, and there are still places on Saturday 18th July with Margaret Wareing and she is teaching 'Hand Made Buttons' which include Macclesfield and Dorset buttons.

Here is a piccie of my fabric stash cupboard, just to show you all that I am sometimes organised. However, I don't feel that I have enough fabric, maybe I need to buy some more. So today as its the Rheged 'familiarisation day' at 2pm, I might just call into Just Sew Penrith for some more.