Sunday, 30 October 2016

Malvern Autumn Quilt Show 2016

by Christine Porter of Bristol

The quilt group that I attend made a mini bus trip to the Malvern Autumn Quilt Show last weekend and, whilst it was a long return journey, it was well worth it to see all the fabulous exhibits on display. There were also many excellent retailers in attendance with quite a few bargains available making us all very happy and our purses much lighter.

The skill and artistry that went into many pf the exhibits was astounding and this triple hanging had already won World Best in an American show.
Stephanie Crawford of South Gloucestershire was inspired to create this by a trip she made to China. 

The three pieces of Lindisfarne are also made by Stephanie.
Quilts modern and traditional and here are several unusual and varied examples by Val Thomas

I loved this Attic Window by Elma Richmond. She found this perfect panel on a trip to America
Birds of the World by Gail Lowther of West Sussex
This random scrap quilt on one of the trade stands was so vibrant. 
Spring's Magic by Val Thomas

Christine Porter of Bristol had so many gems on display

Blooms Birds and Berries was by Jean Coumbe
These patchwork clocks are such a novel idea and look quite simple to make.
Irene Wilcox bought some beautiful silk on her holiday and transformed it into this Goan Beauty.
This huge panel of 1 inch hexagons was so effective and a lovely backdrop to one of the trade stands.
We really enjoyed the visit to Malvern and now look forward to Harrogate at the end of November.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Christmas Holly Patchwork Table Centre Instructions

I can't believe that I haven't posted or sewn since July! Here I am back in action after house renovations, a daughter's wedding, trips away, visitors, and all in all just being out of the action and worn out with no time for the computer!

I spotted this idea last year but couldn't find any patterns so decided to have a go making my own.
Here is the pattern I drafted after playing around with various shapes and sizes. This makes a table centre approximately 58cms in diameter. with the centre aperture big enough to take a pillar candle. It is far easier than it looks so have a go and let me know how you get on or shout if you have any problems!
I've just had new spectacles and they are vastly stronger than my old ones and I am finding difficulty seeing until I adjust so please bear with me if you find any mistakes.
For safety I fix a battery operated nightlight at the top so there will be no naked flame and wax will not drip onto the fabric. 
These nighltights are widely available, quite cheaply, in £ shops and supermarkets.
TWO METHODS to follow.....
NOTE....The centre can also be made with only 7 (instead of 8) segments, and the size adjusted, to make a Christmas Tree skirt. By using one less segment the skirt will shape up to fit a tree base.

Allowing a quarter inch extra all round for seams, cut 8 pieces each of green fabric (for the back which fold back to form the front holly leaves), and a contrast fabric (here I chose red) for the front.
Cut out 8 pieces of medium iron on interfacing (eg., Vilene) to the exact size of the template with no seam allowance.
Iron interfacing on to green fabric and position the two fabrics, right sides together, before stitching a quarter of an inch in around the edge.  
Remember to leave an opening to enable each segment to be turned inside out, then press and stitch the openings. (I machine the opening with a zig zag using invisible thread).
Hold together two completed segments (with green sides together).
Fold the template over along the dotted line and use this as a positional guide to sew together the holly leaf shapes.
This is how they will look and you will see the holly leaves forming.
Continue sewing the segments together in this way until all 8 segments are joined and then stitch together the last two leaves to form a circlet.
Press the seams apart using the tip of the ironYou can add red beads or buttons, as you prefer to represent berries, before you place a candle in the centre, just remember the previous safety advice. As an alternative to a candle, a small dish can be placed in the centre to hold sweets or small gifts.This next Alternative method is somewhat easier as the segments do not need turning inside out.Here the interfacing is ironed on to the reverse of the green fabric.Draw around the template 8 times times onto the RIGHT side of the red fabric. Do not cut out until you have sewn around the edges.

This is then laid onto the the green fabric with the reverse sides together sandwiching the interfacing with the two fabrics.
Next using a buttonhole or satin stitch and a metallic thread(as shown below) machine around the template shape which is marked on the right side of the red fabric. 
I find Madeira metallic machine threads work best for me.
It is far easier and neater to sew first and then trim than to try to machine around a cut edge.
Trim around the segments neatly, close to the stitches then join the holly leaf shapes together as in previous instructions. The finished result is still neat and effective. 

Below, I have pinned braid around the front points and these can be machined in place as an extra detail.
Reverse side. 
TIP ... I used white interfacing here and it shows a little so I will disguise it with a green marker pen. 
Grey or black interfacing is better as it will not be as noticeable as the white.
Any queries please leave a comment and I will do my best to help.